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Ambassador PJ Lhuillier leads audience with Pope and receives blessing for Magellan Expedition

Vatican City – Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Philippe J. Lhuillier led the committee of the Magellan Expedition during a recent audience with the Pope at the Vatican.

Ambassador Lhuillier was part of the delegation which included the Mayor of Lisbon, Portugal Antonio Costa, the Mayor of Sabrosa, Portugal Jose Manuel de Carvalho Marques, the Mayor of Seville, Spain Juan Ignacio Zoido Alvarez, and other members of the Magellan Expedition committee.

The Magellan Expedition is a multi-city event that will re-trace the route of Ferdinand Magellan 500 years after his expedition circumnavigated the world. Among the places Magellan visited during his voyage were Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cabo Verde, South Africa, Indonesia, Brunei, Guam, and the Philippines, where the Portugese explorer fell to his demise in 1521. Each city will have a celebration between 2018 until 2022, to mimic the four years of the original Magellan Expedition.

While he was still a Cardinal in Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was among those initially involved in the planning for the Quincentennial Anniversary of Magellan’s original voyage. The European-led expeditions were crucial in spreading Christianity to the East, and echoes the missionary zeal of the Catholic Church.

“Receiving the Pope’s blessing gives us affirmation in aspiring to recreate Magellan’s legendary journey. The Magellan Expedition will not only be a historical event, but is expected to have cultural, religious, and economic impact to the countries involved, including the Philippines,” Ambassador Lhuillier said.

During his encounter with the Pope, Ambassador Lhuillier personally thanked the Holy See for his recent visit to the Philippines. He also took the opportunity to have his rosary blessed by the Pope during the said meeting.