It has been two decades since the country had been blessed by Pope John Paul II when he paid visit during the World Youth Day on January 1995 in Manila. It was a date to remember, when people around the world rejoiced with the Philippines. Everyone was touched by his visit and had left a special mark in the hearts of the Filipinos.
Monday, May 26, 2014, Pope Francis announced that he will be visiting the Philippines for the first time on January 2015. The eager church believers wasted no time and started the preparation. People from all walks of life helped to make the event a successful one.
Filipinos are then again thankful that another memorable encounter will soon happen and this time, it’s more than just a simple visit but a caring and compassionate gesture of Pope Francis to uplift the spirit of the victims of the calamities that left some of our brothers and sisters homeless and orphans, especially in Leyte.
January 15-19, 2015, our beloved leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, visited the Philippines. It was an honor to be engaged in this holy visit even in simple ways. Darren was one of the blessed artists who took participation in one of the gatherings that the Pope had.
On January 18, 2015, Pope Francis had a youth encounter at the grounds of the University of Sto. Tomas. Along with the inspirational diva, Jamie Rivera, Angeline Quinto and Jed Madela, Darren wholeheartedly sang for the Pope and the thousands watching. He soulfully belted out the 1995 World Youth Day song “Tell the World of His Love.”
Getting to the event was difficult for Darren and the rest of the artists. Darren came from the TVK Sinulog Concert held in Cebu the night before. UST was already packed with people even the day before the event. Roads were closed so Darren and some of the artists had to walk. With God’s grace and guidance Darren arrived on time and never felt exhausted despite the few hours of sleep he had, if at all.
When Darren sang the song, everyone felt the emotions and the heartwarming message it brings. He had received commendable compliments from several individuals in all social media streams. Many shared how Darren’s version of the song made them shed a tear or two. A number of those who shared the celebration 20 years ago said they were brought back to the time when they first heard the song in 1995. It moved their hearts and souls hearing an angel sing the song with all his heart. Exactly what Darren’s mother said, that to sing from his heart and always think that he is are not only singing for the Pope but also for God.
Darren looks up to the Pope as a symbol of kindness and admires his ways of spreading God’s message of mercy and compassion. For Darren being able to see him and perform for him, was more than a blessing, it was a gift. Hearing the Pope’s homily, which according to him was heart-warming and touching, he learned an important lesson: To TELL, FEEL, and DO.
He admitted that he might have felt nervous but he was also excited to sing for the Pope, the millions watching (live and via satellite), and God. He felt very happy seeing the people sang along with him and admired his performance. He can’t wait for the time when people will look back and remember the day when Pope Francis visited the Philippines in 2015. And as they walk down memory lane they will recall how he, Darren Espanto, left a remarkable performance and an inspiring song for the finale.
It was an honor for Darren to be part of a historical event that every Filipino will never forget and will forever keep in their hearts. It was truly a blessing and a dream come true for the total performer. A wonderful gift he received from up above.