Singapore residents take part in Pope Francis' Jan 13-19 visit to the Philippines and Sri Lanka

The group from Singapore including Ms Angela Perumal-Schooling (left foreground), waiting for Pope Francis after he arrived in Sri Lanka on Jan 17. The group from Singapore including Ms Angela Perumal-Schooling (left foreground), waiting for Pope Francis after he arrived in Sri Lanka on Jan 17.Among the thousands who stood for hours under the blazing sun to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis, who arrived in Sri Lanka on Jan 13, was a group of 15 Singaporeans, including pre-press foreman Angela Perumal-Schooling.

She said that upon seeing the pope, she was “ecstatic”.

Ms Perumal-Schooling, who is a parishioner at the Church of St Bernadette shared with CatholicNews that it was “a truly jubilant moment for the group”.

The group included Chinese, Indian and Eurasians from various parishes.

The group had a good view and “We all had a good snap of our dearest pope,” said Ms Perumal-Schooling.

They were also “touched to see the sincerity of a family who prepared cold drinks at no cost, going out of their way to distribute it with a personal touch to all, including foreigners. A true Christian spirit of love,” she said.

To prepare for the Jan 14 Mass and the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, the group woke up as early as 3 am to get ready.

But as the Galle Face Green was already packed by the time the group arrived, the group had to “snake our way through the sea of people,” she said.

Fortunately for the group, they were once again blessed with a “good view”, said Ms Perumal-Schooling.

During the Mass, Ms Perumal-Schooling said that she made her way to the main altar “with the help of a Sri Lankan official”, to get a better view of the pope.

It was her second time seeing a pope, and this was “an inspiring moment for someone whom I hold close to my heart, leading his sheep through all the turmoils on earth”.

The group also learnt humility braving the hot weather as Pope Francis, dressed in his attire, made his way down the streets, “waving to all with a warm, tired smile”, she said.

Throughout the trip, Ms Christina Selvam, who was part of the group said, “I felt an aura of God’s presence [which] filled the whole place and for one moment, it was so exhilarating [that] tears just flowed freely.”

Ms Selvam who is the sister-in-law of Ms Perumal-Schooling, helped to make the trip possible.

She shared some of her contacts in Sri Lanka who helped to plan for the trip.

Ms Perumal-Schooling’s husband, Jock, said that he was fortunate to have met Pope Francis. He also said that he felt spiritually uplifted when he saw the pope’s “smile of love”.

Prior to the trip, Ms Perumal-Schooling said the group prayed for safety, and catechists from the Church of St Bernadette also kept them in their prayers.

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