PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

PAPAL VISIT 2015: WHAT IT MEANS FOR FILIPINOS 

NOV 18 ---PHOTO: Pope Francis gives a thumbs-up during one of his open-air general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Photo by Andreas Solaro, AFP
How the Catholic church's 'conservative rock star' is making his presence felt in the Philippines MANILA - Consider this irony: many have found reason to celebrate Pope Francis’ leadership which has rejuvenated the Roman Catholic community worldwide, and yet he has not even changed one archaic church doctrine. Analysts believe Pope Francis, or Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will not overturn church policies, but he has one “secret” that has charmed the secular world into calling him a rock star. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: 4 to 6 million expected to attend Pope Francis' Mass in Luneta, Jan 19  

NOV 18 --Around four to six million people are expected to attend the Eucharistic celebration that Pope Francis will be officiating at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Jan. 18, 2015. The estimated crowd attendance does not include "curious" people who will be watching the papal motorcade in the streets of Metro Manila and Tacloban City. “The estimate is between four and six million people in Luneta… We are expecting streets and roads to be filled with people,” Paynor Former Israel Ambassador Marciano Paynor said. READ FULL STORY...

ALSO: Pope’s lunch mates: 30 Yolanda, quake victims

NOV 19 --Thirty survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake will have a lunch date with Pope Francis when he visits Tacloban City and Palo town in Leyte on Jan. 17. Fr. Chris Arthur Militante, media coordinator for the papal visit of the Archdiocese of Palo, told Radio Veritas that their Episcopal See’s relief and rehabilitation unit is selecting the “papal lunch mates” and the selection would be fair. “They are trying their best to choose people, not only those who had survived Yolanda but even other calamities, so that the event will be well-represented,” Militante said. READ FULL REPOORT...

ALSO: PNP prepares for Pope Francis' visit  

NV 18 --MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police is gearing up for the scheduled visit of Pope Francis in January 2015. PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said the police force is preparing ahead of the Papal visit slated early next year that will be highlighted by several engagements of the Pope in different venues. Purisima has designated Deputy Chief for Operations Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, as Task Force Commander for the PNP Special Task Force "Papal Visit 2015."  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Christ is the true star of the papal visit, says inspirational speaker 

NOV 18 --PHOTO: BRO LOBRIN, AUTHOR---Pope Francis will not be the star of the papal visit but Jesus Christ, Michaelangelo Lobrin, inspirational speaker and best-selling author, stressed during the spiritual gathering titled “A Nation of Mercy and Compassion” yesterday at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church in the University of Santo Tomas (UST). Bringing his comedic chops to the one-day event organized by the UST Theological Society, Lobrin said the apostolic visit of Pope Francis would be a “chance to see Christ,” and this must be the main source of excitement for the faithful. READ FULL WRITE-UP...

ALSO: Rizal Park spruced up for pope visit 

NOV 19 ---FOR THE POPE A youth from the Manobo tribe drops a postcard for Pope Francis at the Immaculate Conception Parish hall in Quezon City. The postcard and letter writing for the Pope is part of Catholic Church’s preparations for the visit of the pontiff in January. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN A makeover of Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila is in full swing as the government prepares for the visit of Pope Francis in January next year.--The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday said renovation work at the park where the Pope will say Mass is about 30 percent to 40 percent finished. The government allotted P20 million to prettify the 40-hectare park. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Official website for Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines launched 2014-08-07  

Preparations are underway for Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines, which takes place from January 15th-19th, 2015. This week, the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines published the official website of the visit. The site features a countdown clock that counts down the days until the Pope's arrival. The official logo of the visit as well as its theme, "Mercy and Compassion” is also shown, alongside a picture of Francis. Further down, six children from areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan welcome the Pope with handwritten drawings. During his visit, Francis will visit the areas devastated by the tragic storm. READ FULL REPORT...WATCH VIUDEO OF THEM SONG 'WE ARE ALL GOD'S CHILDREN'....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:
FROM ABS-CBN: THIS REPORT IS PHNO HEADLINE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

Papal Visit 2015: What it means for Filipinos
How the Catholic church's 'conservative rock star' is making his presence felt in the Philippines


Pope Francis gives a thumbs-up during one of his open-air general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Photo by Andreas Solaro, AFP

MANILA, NOVEMBER 24, 2014 (ABS-CBN) by Ira Pedrasa - Consider this irony: many have found reason to celebrate Pope Francis’ leadership which has rejuvenated the Roman Catholic community worldwide, and yet he has not even changed one archaic church doctrine.

Analysts believe Pope Francis, or Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will not overturn church policies, but he has one “secret” that has charmed the secular world into calling him a rock star.

In an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com, Father Catalino Arevalo believes Pope Francis will not change church doctrines now or in the future. This means, for example, that gay marriages are totally out of the picture.

“He will not [change Catholic doctrines], he’s a conservative theologian.”


Father Catalino Arevalo believes Pope Francis remains a conservative theologian. Photo by Ira Pedrasa. ABS-CBN News

Father Catalino Arevalo believes Pope Francis remains a conservative theologian. Arevalo, like Pope Francis, is a theologian and belongs to the Jesuits, which, by Catholic church standards, is one of the most forward-thinking religious orders.

Arevalo is widely recognized as the dean of Catholic theologians in the Philippines and is mentor to the likes of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

“Francis brings his own personal style, lifestyle…They see a guy here who loves everybody. And he really wants to be with people, wants to love the people. That’s the secret of Francis,” he said.

He noted it’s not important to the Catholic church’s highest leader what one’s leanings are. “He’s not a conservative nor a progressive, as Jesus Christ was neither conservative nor progressive.”

What he is, instead, is good news, Arevalo said.

LIVING THE GOSPEL

Sister Mary John Mananzan agrees. “In doctrine, Pope Francis is very orthodox, he has not said anything that was controversial in doctrine. But where I find him really, really radical is in the way he lives the gospel.”


Sister Mary John Mananzan believes Pope Francis has a heart "that wants to be open." Photo by Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Sister Mary John Mananzan believes Pope Francis has a heart "that wants to be open." Mananzan served as president of St. Scholastica's College for six years, prioress of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters in the Manila Priory for eight years, and national chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines for four.

Quoting the British Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, Arevalo said Pope Francis is not the type to wag his finger at those who do not follow the doctrines of the church.

Instead, he will put an arm around his or her shoulder, and then listen and understand.

“He will be true to himself. He will remain conservative, doctrinally, but the main thing about him is a great heart: a heart that’s open, that wants to be open,” he said.

Among the acts that have awed even the non-religious are: Francis embracing an Italian whose entire body was terribly scarred by a genetic disorder; Francis washing the feet of 12 prisoners who included Muslims and women; and Francis allowing a boy who wandered on stage sit on the Papal chair.

THE SYNOD AND GAY MARRIAGES

Will we see a Francis-led Catholic church embrace gay unions? No, according to analysts interviewed by ABS-CBNnews.com.

“The church remains, retains that gay marriage is not acceptable, even by natural law or the gospel. But we should not show any despising or condemnation of gay people. That’s what Francis said,” Arevalo said.

He said each one has his or her own way of sinning. “In other words, the sin remains as far as the church is concerned: gay marriage, gay activities are not allowed in the gospel… but people who are gay and are trying to please God as much as they can, then welcome them, don’t condemn them.”

Red Macalalad, community relations officer of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Quezon City, said the recent Synod is a step forward for the Catholic church.


Metropolitan Community Church Posted on December 8, 2011 The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC, more commonly known as the Metropolitan Community Church or MCC) is a religious denomination founded by Troy Perry in 1968 to serve the Gay community. Nominally Protestant, the MCC allows theological flexibility for each congregation. The MCC led the way as a LGBTQ folk movement giving Gay people access to congregations of faith and promoting religion-based activism.

MCC is not part of the Catholic church, but has it its own denomination under the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. It is an LGBT-affirming church that has administered gay unions, weddings, or rituals.

Macalalad is referring to the Synod of Bishops on the Family, a two-week summit of Catholic bishops held in Rome last month.

More than 200 bishops from around the world discussed a draft document that included a topic on "Welcoming Homosexual Persons," which could lead to accepting the gay community in the future.

However, the call to "accept and value" homosexuals in the draft report was not supported by two-thirds of the bishops. Instead, the final report, which will still be debated in the years to come, only said anti-gay discrimination is "to be avoided.”


Pope Francis presides over the Synod, where Cardinal Tagle (on your far right) was one of the leaders. Photo by Andreas Solaro, AFP

As expected, the topic pitted conservatives on one side and liberals on the other.

“It feels like you (Church) are accepting us or offering us a fraternal space because we offer gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. So it’s like me, saying, na matalino ka naman, so I’ll accept you. Can’t we accept people just because they are people?” Macalalad stressed.

He said the Church is obviously, again, struggling with its doctrines. He added this is why a lot of Filipinos go to alternative churches such as the MCC. Some churches, he said, are not safe spaces for LGBTs.

“If a person does not feel comfortable in a church setting, or in the community church where he belongs. He is not comfortable with himself where there is a threat to his reputation, a threat he feels that when coming out, puwede siyang ma-kick-out, maalis sa kanyang ministry, or kutyain,” he said.

‘POPE HAS COME OUT’

Macalalad feels, however, that the Pope has clearly showed his openness and compassion.

“Pero kasi, para sa akin, alam mo, pinag-iisipan ko siya, si Pope Francis nag-come-out… nag-come-out siya for the love of LGBTs… Kung ang kakayahan ng isang tao ay sabihin na, well, my expression of love is not to judge other people, to welcome them, to make them comfortable in our space, to trigger our churches to rethink how our LGBTs are faring in our churches. If that is his expression of coming out for his love of other people, that is a strong teaching, that is very meaningful,” Macalalad said.

Arevalo said it helps that the Filipino Catholic church is a “human” church, anchored firmly on the attitudes of the new Pope.

He noted that one-third of the entire Catholic church in the world do not even allow the Catholic faithful to talk to a gay person. But in the Philippines, the people are more accepting, he said.

“We are more human. Because Western culture has become 'dishuman.' It has, as Francis says, in Western culture, the first value is money, money, money. Everything is judgmental. If it will make money, it is moral. If it doesn’t make money, it is bad. That’s the Western culture. That’s what Francis has been saying. It is a worship of money in the Western culture that is inhuman, dishuman, and dehumanizing,” he said.

Arevalo also cited Pope Francis’ famous quote in 2013 on his attitude towards homosexuals: “Who am I to judge?”

'THE TIMES, THEY'RE A-CHANGIN..'Pope Francis becomes the first pontiff to grace the cover of the iconic rock magazine, Rolling Stone. Photo by Michael Thurston, AFP

Such attitude was present when Francis allowed an Australian gay couple to pitch for gay unions at the Synod of Bishops on the Family last month, Arevalo said. He also took note of the story of Pope Francis phoning a remarried Catholic woman in Argentina that she could “safely receive communion.”

A draft in the Synod of Bishops on the Family report was also conciliatory in tone towards Catholics who have divorced and remarried without their first marriage getting annulled by the church. This, however, also did not get majority backing at the Synod.

“Is the sacrament [of communion] a reward for virtue? Or is it a health for those who are trying to be better? What’s your attitude towards the sacrament? Now if your attitude is that you wrought a finger from the very beginning, the sacrament is a reward for virtue. But if your attitude is given to us, so that by it we are able to live better lives, then we would be given the strength to live better lives. So it’s a basic attitude. That’s Francis not just [attracting] the church but the secular world.”

POPE FRANCIS AND THE 3RD WORLD


Pope Franics has lunch with the poor in a village in southern Italy. Photo by Osservatore Romano, AFP

Arevalo admits the interest about Pope Francis is partly a creation of media, which may not be entirely accurate. “Partly, the media created him. And partly, the media’s creation of him is not correct. Because they judged him from showbiz secular standards. So he is a creature of the media in many ways, and much of what is projected is not correct,” he said.

Mananzan explained that Pope Francis comes from the Third World and thus understands the compassion from and for Third World nations. This is where his mercy – correctly portrayed by the media – came from, she said.

“He was conceived theologically, in the belly of liberation theology. He may not even say that I am a liberation theologian pero ‘yun ang womb na pinanganakan sa iyo, so you cannot but take in as osmosis lahat ng values ng liberation theology, kaya malapit na malapit siya sa tao,” she said.

Mananzan believes the images of Pope Francis that have been emphasized by the media were not planned since they come from a spontaneous show of mercy.

IMPACT OF POPE FRANCIS’ LEADERSHIP

Pope Francis’ leadership has also created a ripple effect in many of the Catholic faithful.

Mananzan, for instance, said she has always been happy as a nun, but was previously “uneasy” being a Catholic.

“I have to apologize about many things: apologize for the sexual harassments of priests, I have to apologize about the narrow-mindedness of the clergy about the conditions of people they consider living in sin. ‘Di ba? And yung kanilang… paranoid na reaction to the RH Bill.”

Pope Francis’ leadership, however, has changed her, said Mananzan, who admits to being a big fan of the Pope. She said she has even created a “gospel” according to Pope Francis.

“Pero ngayon, I’m at ease being a Catholic knowing that all of us can be like Pope Francis because he is not doing anything special. He is just putting the miracle of normalcy into the Vatican. Kasi noon, puro seremonyas ang pagiging Pope. E sa kanya, wala siyang seremonyas.”

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, CONTRACEPTIVES

When it comes to reproductive health, the Catholic church does not allow contraceptives “because it has always held that sexual activity must be open to life,” Arevalo said.

Pope Francis has not made any direct pronouncements on this issue, except to say that he is against abortion.

Nevertheless, Catholic churches in some countries have been lenient when it comes to this topic, he said.

In fact, it’s a big church-state conflict in only a few countries, and this includes the Philippines . Some bishops, for instance, even wanted to excommunicate President Benigno Aquino III for supporting the Reproductive Health Bill.

What does the Pope say on this matter?

Arevalo said: “He will not change that [stand against contraceptives]. He said it himself that I’m a Catholic and I follow the teachings of the Church.”

However, Pope Francis accepts those who favor contraceptives and the like since “the person is still on his way to the full acceptance of the Christian teaching.”

“So, he will not change, but he will be merciful and kind to the people who cannot keep the law,” Arevalo added.

Mananzan, the chair emeritus of women’s group Gabriela, said the debate about the Reproductive Health Bill does not just involve Catholics and the church as an institution.

“I cannot say that it is intrinsically evil. If it is, there should be no exception… Like murder, [the exception is] self-defense… What I mean is, there are already exceptions [on the rules on reproductive health],” she said.

“Tinitignan ko lang yung mga seamen natin, they go all around the world. You cannot say they are chased the whole time. Pag dating nila dito, they will have sex with their wives, anong protection ng wife nila? May mga ganung circumstances,” she said.

WOMEN PRIESTS, ORDAINED MARRIED MEN

Despite the strong impact of Pope Francis’ compassionate approach, he has his shortcomings, said Mananzan, citing as an example Pope Francis’ conservative grasp of the struggle of women.

“The Pope is not perfect. It’s not as if wala siyang kakulangan… Kulang pa siya sa real grasp sa struggle of women. Although he speaks very highly of women. He even said that what is needed is a new theology of women,” she said.

She noted Pope Francis once condemned the feminist ideology as demonic. But Mananzan said this reasoning is due to the Pope’s exposure to Western ideas on feminism.

“I understand that, kasi ang kanyang contact ay yung Western type, marami namang klaseng feminism. Ang nasagap lang niya ‘yung tinatawag nating radical feminism, anti-ganito, anti-like that, very angry. Hindi naman tayo ganoon. Ibig ko sabihin, kailangang makinig rin siya siguro sa mga women of the Third World,” Mananzan said.

Pope Francis has also closed his doors to women priests.

Arevalo said the Pope wants greater roles for women, but “the question is what will that greater role be? He has brought a lot of women to the Vatican congregations.”

He noted Francis may be more open to ordaining married men. He said the prohibition is not in the divine laws, but a part of human laws.

“Now whether Francis will do it or not, I don’t know. That’s why he has advisers from all over the world. But the ordination of married men is not against the church. As a matter of fact, there are many married men who are functioning as priests. Those who come from the Anglican Church can join the Catholic church. They are allowed to keep their wives, they are allowed to keep their married lives while they function as priests,” Arevalo said.

POPE, THE SINNER

Pope Francis himself admits he is a sinner, which makes his humanity more attractive, Mananzan said. “He does not only say: love the sinner [and not the sin], he is identifying himself as a sinner.”

What Pope Francis wants is a healing church, where all sinners are healed and not condemned, she said.

Nonetheless, Pope Francis is also one to put his foot down – especially against those who use the Church as a means to enrich themselves or violate the rights of others, she said.


Pope Francis displays a serious side when it come to priest pedophiles and corruption in the Vatican. Photo by Max Rossi, AFP

Despite his merciful nature, Pope Francis promised he will not tolerate pedophile priests and the like. He also shook up the Vatican Bank in a bid to remove the likes of a former accountant who allegedly tried to launder millions of euros.

Asked if there are Filipino priests being investigated by the Vatican at the moment, Arevalo said “there definitely are [cases].”

Quoting Tagle, he said the cases in the Philippines are not child abuse incidents but priests having sexual relations with women, “sometimes on a semi-permanent basis, some on an occasional basis. But we have no facts, we have no surveys, we cannot say anything.”

The problem here is that Filipinos are too forgiving of priests. “The people are not taking the responsibility as members of the church seriously.”

PAPAL VISIT

So, what can people expect from the Papal visit in the Philippines in January 2015 mean?

Catholic church leaders say the “secret” of Pope Francis – his humanity and mercy – will be unveiled to the people.

In announcing Pope Francis’ visit, Tagle, back in July, said Filipinos should prepare for his unique style, which was already obvious on the first day of his papacy.

“He wants to journey with the people where they are,” he said.

Analysts interviewed said Filipinos should prepare for a Pope Francis who charmed the world by kissing the feet of inmates, partaking meals with the poor, taking selfies with the youth, etc.

“Well, I think when they see this guy, he loves being with the poor, with the ordinary people. Someone who is not doing this for the sake of the newspaper photographers. But that he wants to show his love,” Arevalo said.

Mananzan, for her part, said: “I don’t know what will happen, but what I hope to happen is something real. As [Manila Archbishop Cardinal] Tagle said, that would be like a renewal of faith, renewal of hope, renewal of compassion.”

Already, she senses Filipinos going back to church and renewing their faith.

“Dapat makita rin natin yung kanyang pagkatao dito. Ang tingin ko kasi, kahit mga long-distance, ang daming mga taong bumabalik sa simbahan. Ang daming mga taong nagkakaroon ng hope sa simbahan. E lalo na pagka-nakita siya sa personal,” she said.

Gay groups hope the Pope will shock society anew with new statements favoring the LGBT community, while Mananzan wishes he will touch the conscience of the corrupt.

“Ngayon, ang wish list ko, I don’t know kung gaano sila kakapal, pero ang tingin ko, sana yung example ng Pope, makayanig man lang sakanila na, ‘Teka muna, ano ba ‘tong ginagawa ko? Mukhang hindi yata ganito ang Pope,’” Mananzan said.

Both Arevalo and Mananzan have no plans to seek an audience with the Pope. It would be enough for them to see the Filipino faith becoming stronger because of a merciful leader.

“It does not matter to me if I see him or if I don’t see him, may picture ako sa kanya o walang picture. Sa akin, parang hindi importante ‘yun. Ang gusto ko lang ma-infect tayong lahat sakanyang compassion sa tao,” Mananzan said.


FROM PHILSTAR

4 to 6 million expected to attend Pope Francis' Mass By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated November 18, 2014 - 6:33pm 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Around four to six million people are expected to attend the Eucharistic celebration that Pope Francis will be officiating at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Jan. 18, 2015.

The estimated crowd attendance does not include "curious" people who will be watching the papal motorcade in the streets of Metro Manila and Tacloban City.

“The estimate is between four and six million people in Luneta… We are expecting streets and roads to be filled with people,” Paynor Former Israel Ambassador Marciano Paynor said.

The celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Manila is the last scheduled activity of the Pope which will conclude his four-day Apostolic and State Visit in the Philippines from January 15 to 19.

The Holy Father is scheduled to meet with bishops, priests and religious at the Manila Cathedral and will fave an encounter with families at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City on January 16.

On his third day of visit, the pope will fly to Palo, Leyte to hold a Mass and host a luncheon for survivors of typhoon Yolanda.

READ: Vatican releases Pope's itinerary for Philippines visit

St. John Paul II was the last pope who visited the Philippines for the World Youth Day in 1995, wherein five million people attended the event.

The said crowd attendance holds "the largest papal crowd in history" in the Guinness World records


FROM PHILSTAR

Pope’s lunch mates: 30 Yolanda, quake victims By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 20, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Thirty survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake will have a lunch date with Pope Francis when he visits Tacloban City and Palo town in Leyte on Jan. 17.

Fr. Chris Arthur Militante, media coordinator for the papal visit of the Archdiocese of Palo, told Radio Veritas that their Episcopal See’s relief and rehabilitation unit is selecting the “papal lunch mates” and the selection would be fair.

“They are trying their best to choose people, not only those who had survived Yolanda but even other calamities, so that the event will be well-represented,” Militante said.

Cebu and Bohol, which were struck by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 15 last year, are expected to send representatives to the lunch with the Pope.

Priests from the Archdiocese of Palo also reminded the public yesterday that the focus of the papal visit is to comfort survivors of calamities, including provincial officials as they are also victims of Yolanda.

The priests made the comment in reaction to reports that Palo Archbishop John Du said that Pope Francis expressed his desire to stay away from politicians and very important persons.

Fr. Amadeo Alvero, social communications coordinator for the papal visit, explained that Pope Francis is not just a religious leader but also a head of state, so he would be given an official welcome by political leaders of the places he would visit in January 2015.

Militante said perhaps what Du meant was that the pontiff would be visiting the country as the Church’s pastoral leader and his focus was to console and comfort Yolanda survivors. He noted that Du’s statement was just taken out of context.

“The pope loves all of us,” Alvero added.

Grandstand repair ongoing

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has allotted more than P20 million for the repair and rehabilitation of Quirino Grandstand and Rizal Park in preparation for Pope Francis’ mass there on Jan. 18.

As of last week the DPWH has completed 30 to 40 percent of repairs, according to DPWH-National Capital Region director Reynaldo Tagudando.

The interior of the Quirino Grandstand was repainted and the cable and electrical wiring and plumbing system were fixed.

A portion of the budget would also be used for renting portable toilets and chairs, for construction of the platform where the chairs would be installed, and construction of a bridge that would lead to the stage.

According to the DPWH, capacity of the north and south wings of Quirino Grandstand is 2,100 people, 500 priests in front of the stage, and 250 for seating.

The parade ground could accommodate 5,000 people while the rest of the crowd could occupy the grassy area at the grandstand.

Tagudando said the DPWH is expecting about 5 million people to attend the mass. Since Rizal Park can only accommodate 1.2 million, people are expected to spill over to Taft Avenue, Anda Circle and Manila Baywalk.

The DPWH might install speakers and LED screens for the benefit of those positioned far from the grandstand.

Tight security

Security will be very tight during the pope’s visit in Leyte, according to Militante.

Fr. Rex Ramirez, local communications coordinator for the papal visit, said cellphones could be banned, especially for people privileged to get inside the secured perimeter at the Tacloban airport where the Pope would say mass on Jan. 17.

Ramirez said the security group is still deciding how many people the secured perimeter can accommodate. With Lalaine Jimenea


FROM PHILSTAR

PNP prepares for Pope Francis' visit By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com) | Updated November 14, 2014 - 3:42pm 2 1 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police is gearing up for the scheduled visit of Pope Francis in January 2015.

PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said the police force is preparing ahead of the Papal visit slated early next year that will be highlighted by several engagements of the Pope in different venues.

Purisima has designated Deputy Chief for Operations Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, as Task Force Commander for the PNP Special Task Force "Papal Visit 2015."

Espina will provide strategic direction, monitor and supervise the operations of PNP Units and personnel that will compose the different task groups in different venues.

Several PNP task groups have been organized to provide a wide range of security functions in all areas of engagement.

The PNP will also provide operational support to the Presidential Security Group (PSG) which is tasked to provide close-in security and safety services to the Pope and his entourage.

"Extensive security coverage and other public safety services will be undertaken in all areas of engagements and its adjacent areas during the Papal Visit. It is imperative that the security and safety of the Pope be given utmost priority," Purisima said.

Purisima is a member of the multi-agency Papal Visit-National Organizing Committee tasked with the management and coordination of all plans and activities, maintain peace and order, and safeguard participants. This includes public safety assistance necessary for order maintenance and police services for crowd control, vehicular and pedestrian traffic direction and route, parking and venue security.

"Sustained anti-criminality and internal security operations in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and concerned local government units are also being conducted," Purisima said.


By Danielle Ann F. Gabriel, The Varsitarian UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS

Christ is the true star of the papal visit, says inspirational speaker 07 NOV 2014


BRO. Michaelangelo Lobrin

Pope Francis will not be the star of the papal visit but Jesus Christ, Michaelangelo Lobrin, inspirational speaker and best-selling author, stressed during the spiritual gathering titled “A Nation of Mercy and Compassion” yesterday at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church in the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Bringing his comedic chops to the one-day event organized by the UST Theological Society, Lobrin said the apostolic visit of Pope Francis would be a “chance to see Christ,” and this must be the main source of excitement for the faithful.

“The Pope is not the big star, the big star is Jesus Christ. Once the Pope comes and you do not see Jesus in him, the papal visit will not be successful. It is the Pope himself who asked for his visit to be simple and pastoral,” Lobrin said in his talk.

Lobrin emphasized that the theme for the papal visit, “mercy and compassion,” was not a new concept evoked because of Pope Francis’ upcoming visit.

“Mercy and compassion, these are not new to us. The fact that you are alive is already an example of God’s mercy and compassion. The fact that we are blessed even though we are unworthy is an act of mercy on His part,” Lobrin said.

Lobrin urged the faithful to draw inspiration from Pope Francis’ example of mercy and compassion that is rooted in humility.

“Pope Francis teaches us the act of humility. We have to understand that all our life, our success or riches, are just gifts from God and are temporary. God has allowed us to gain these things out of mercy and compassion,” Lobrin said.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Rizal Park spruced up for pope visit November 19, 2014 9:41 pm by ROBERTZON F. RAMIREZ REPORTER


FOR THE POPE A youth from the Manobo tribe drops a postcard for Pope Francis at the Immaculate Conception Parish hall in Quezon City. The postcard and letter writing for the Pope is part of Catholic Church’s preparations for the visit of the pontiff in January. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

A makeover of Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila is in full swing as the government prepares for the visit of Pope Francis in January next year.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday said renovation work at the park where the Pope will say Mass is about 30 percent to 40 percent finished. DPWH-National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) Director Reynaldo Tagundando said rehabilitation work is being done 24/7.

The government allotted P20 million to prettify the 40-hectare park.

Tagundando said aside from the physical renovation of the park, part of the budget will be used for repair of liturgical requirements and wiring and cable systems; and installation of portable toilets and platforms, among other purposes.

He added that the altar where the pontiff will say the Mass at the Luneta Grandstand on January 18, 2015 was designed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Earlier reports quoted government and church authorities as saying the expected crowd attendance in the event could top six million, thus raising security and mobility concerns.

Tagundando said the crowd could spill to Anda Circle and Taft Avenue.

He, however, gave assurances that those far from the grandstand would still see and hear the pope because LED screens will be installed in and around the park.


FROM ROMEREPORTS.COM

Official website for Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines launched 2014-08-07

Preparations are underway for Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines, which takes place from January 15th-19th, 2015. This week, the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines published the official website of the visit.

The site features a countdown clock that counts down the days until the Pope's arrival. The official logo of the visit as well as its theme, "Mercy and Compassion” is also shown, alongside a picture of Francis.

Further down, six children from areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan welcome the Pope with handwritten drawings. During his visit, Francis will visit the areas devastated by the tragic storm.

The website has also published the official song for the visit entitled "We Are All God's Children,” which includes a choreographed routine.

The site also features the official prayer, which will be prayed in every Mass celebrated in the country from August 1st, 2014 until January 14th, 2015. It also highlights John Paul II's historic visit to the country in 1995. The World Youth Day in Manila, celebrated that same year, was the largest in its history, with 5 million people in attendance.

We Are All God's Children ACTION VIDEO Noel Espenida

 
Noel Espenida Subscribe 1,042 Add to Share More 292,367 2,038 68
Published on Jun 24, 2014 Official Theme Song for the 2015 Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines

Lyrics written ang sung by Jamie Rivera with The Hail Mary the Queen Children's Choir.
Music composed and arranged by Noel Espenida Choreography by Landa Juan Action performed by Ligaya Ng Panginoon Community Youth Video by Dix Perez Published by Star Songs, Inc.

You can download the music SATB score here http://www.noelespenida.com/#!gallery... Music "We Are All God's Children" by Jamie Rivera (Google Play • iTunes) Category Music License Standard YouTube License


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