PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio was one of the six-million devotees that trooped to the Luneta on Sunday afternoon to witness the Concluding Mass ministered by Pope Francis.
Notwithstanding the traffic and heavy downpour brought by typhoon Amang, Gregorio and his family rode the LRT from Katipunan to Recto then walked a few blocks to Luneta just to hear the sacred mass of the head of the Catholic church.
“I did that kasi that’s part of our sacrifices as Christians and believer of the Catholic church. And it was worth it. The experience was breath-taking. The words of Pope Francis were truly enlightening,” said Gregorio, who was still soaking wet from his shoes up to his polo when Spin.ph approached him at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Minsan lang dumating ang Santo Papa rito sa bansa. Ano ba naman yung magsakripisyo tayo to hear his gospel from the Lord,” he added. “Not all of us can go to the Vatican to attend his mass.”
Aside from being soaked by the rain, Gregorio also shared how he and his wife Marichele and kids Martin, Patricia and Angela were separated from each other in the middle of the record crowd.
“Nagkahiwa-hiwalay kami. Hindi kami magka-kontakan kasi barred ang signal dun sa event ni Pope dahil na rin sa utos ng NTC (National Telecommunication Commission). Kaya nagkanya-kanya kami ng uwi,” said Gregorio while revealing how he had to take a pedicab to the LRT 2 where he took that Legarda to Cubao trip to catch Game Six of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters alternate governor bared that it was his wife who influenced him to regularly attend church activities.
“Si Marichele talaga ang naghimok sa akin na maging malapit sa Diyos. Araw-araw ngang nagsisimba 'yun eh,” he said.
Mrs. Gregorio shared how her husband would not let a day pass without him saying a prayer before the family altar before he going through his hectic schedule at the office.
“I am a devotee of Mama Mary and eversince I was in grade school, my parents already taught us to pray and say the rosary including the Angelus everyday,” said Mrs. Gregorio.
“When I met Patrick, he doesn’t know how to pray the rosary at all. I guess God made me as his instrument in teaching God’s words. Now, Pato never fails to kneel. He never leaves the house without visiting our prayer room,” she added.
“That in itself is already a miracle and a blessing for me.”
Asked how she was able to convince Gregorio, one of the most trusted executives of business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, Marichele said it was never a problem.
“I had never had troubles asking him and the kids to join us in the mass of Pope Francis. I am not even surprised that a PBA chairman rode the train and got drenched. Taga-UP yan noh, kaya down to earth siya," said Mrs. Gregorio who will celebrate their wedding's 20th anniversary on Wednesday.
“And even right after the visit of Pope Francis was announced a long time ago, talagang nauna na sa priority ng to-do list naming pamilya yan ngayong taon,” said Mrs. Gregorio.
Aside from Gregorio, other PBA personalities who were at the Quirinio Grandstand were Blackwater Elite guard Sunday Salvacion, Barako Bull superstar JC Intal and wife Bianca and PBA business development head Rhose Montreal.
The dynamic PBA official was also at the Papal event at the Mall of Asia Arena last Friday, where the Pope met with different families who gave testimonials.
“We feel so blessed with the Pope’s visit and yung feeling of renewal ng faith mo, ramdam na ramdam,” said Montreal who is a regular servant at her church in Marikina.