PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

PUTING NAZARENO MAKIKITA SA BOHOL 


JANUARY 8, 2015 ---Kung "Itim na Nazareno" ang dinadayo ng mga deboto tuwing Enero sa kapistahan ng Quiapo sa Maynila, sa Talibon, Bohol, puting bersiyon nito ang nagpapalakas ng pananampalataya ng mga tao sa lugar. Sa ulat ng GMA News, sinabing may 50 taon na ang Puting Nazareno na dating yari sa kahoy pero ginawa nang semento. Taun-taon ding dinadagsa ng mga deboto ang naturang poon na ipinagdiriwang ang kapistahan tuwing Marso. Si Mang Gaspar, tiwalang matutupad ang kaniyang mga idinadalangin sa imahen ng Puting Nazareno. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Millions of barefoot devotees expected to join Black Nazarene procession today


JANUARY 9, 2015 --- A sea of barefoot devotees of the Poong Hesus Nazareno clad in maroon shirts are expected to join the much-anticipated grand Traslacion procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Quiapo Church in Manila today. It will be the eighth time since 2007 that the grand procession will take off from Quirino Grandstand, where devotees lined up yesterday for the “Pahalik sa Poong Nazareno,” which started as early at 4 a.m. due to the long lines of devotees who had to wait around three hours to get near the Nazareno. The annual procession of the miraculous sacred image is expected to begin at around 7 a.m. today, right after the 6 a.m. Liturgy for Procession to be led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. But devotees flocking to Manila may have to pull those umbrellas out of the closet for sun protection and passing light rains. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Backpacks, umbrellas banned in Luneta Papal Mass Jan 18

JANUARY 8 ---PHOTO: Veneration A devotee touches the foot of the original image of the Black Nazarene during the “pahalik” that drew thousands who patiently queued at Rizal Park to get a chance to kiss or touch the venerated image of Jesus Christ. Photo by Ruy Martinez
PEOPLE who want to attend Pope Francis’ Mass at Luneta (Rizal Park in Manila) on January 18 should leave their backpacks and umbrellas at home. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Thursday reminded the faithful that bags and backpacks will not be allowed. Food, drinks and other important belongings should be placed in a clear or transparent plastic bag or container. Coloma said only fans, cap, and raincoats will be allowed as protective gear. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Jeepney popemobile drives to history

 
POPE FRANCIS’ RIDE A new popemobile to be used by Pope Francis during his visit is a takeoff from the jeepney, a symbol of Filipino ingenuity. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–Pope Francis will be riding the first jeepney converted into a popemobile, the unofficial designation for any motor vehicle used by the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, during his visit to Manila. When he does, the US military war horse ingenious Filipinos turned into a public transport vehicle will drive into automotive history. The white popemobile is built on a brand-new jeepney chassis, converted to a secure platform to give the faithful a good view of the Pontiff. It is every inch a Philippine jeepney, from the long bumper with steel “bull bar” up front, to the stainless steel strips adorning the sides, to the checkered plate metal step at the rear. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO EARLIER REPORT: PH to secure Pope Francis in custom-built ‘popemobile’


NOVEMBER 27, 2014 ---MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will custom-build a “popemobile” for Pope Francis to travel in during his visit to the fervently Catholic nation in January, organizers said Thursday. “He is our visitor and we can’t let anything bad happen to him,” the government’s chief protocol officer Marciano Paynor said, adding however that there were “no specific threats.”  Pope Francis, who has shunned the pomp of his predecessors, said earlier this year he prefers to use open-top cars rather than the Vatican’s bulletproof “popemobile” used by previous pontiffs, which he called a “sardine can.”  “It is true something could happen to me but let’s be realistic, at my age I do not have much to lose,” he said in June, adding that the “popemobile” made it hard to connect with the faithful. READ FULL REPORT.....

ALSO: 50 bomb-sniffing dogs protect pope  


Commemorative stamps. A Philippine Postal Corp. employee counts the Pope Francis commemorative stamps at the head office in Manila. Sonny Espiritu THE government will deploy more than 50 bomb-sniffing dogs and suspend permits to carry firearms to ensure the safety of Pope Francis when he visits the Philippines on Jan. 15. Police spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the suspension of permits to carry firearms outside of residence will take effect upon the Pope’s arrival on Jan. 15, and will be lifted once he departs. Mayor said only policemen, military and members of other law enforcement agencies with official tasks during the Pope’s visit would be allowed to possess and carry firearms. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Student Christian Group: Pope being prevented from seeing poor


Plea to Francis. The families of political prisoners and victims of
summary killings hold up their letters to Pope Francis asking him to
join them in their pursuit of justice. Manny Palmerno A GROUP on Wednesday expressed fears the government will not allow Pope Francis to witness the poverty situation in the country particularly the slums of Metro Manila. 
“We fear that the government will not let his holiness truly witness the dire situation of the vast majority of Filipinos living in poverty,” Einstein Recedes, spokesman of the Student Christian Movement, told ucanews.READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘Puting Nazareno,’ makikita sa Bohol J

MANILA, JANUARY 12, 2015 (GMA NEWS) Kung "Itim na Nazareno" ang dinadayo ng mga deboto tuwing Enero sa kapistahan ng Quiapo sa Maynila, sa Talibon, Bohol, puting bersiyon nito ang nagpapalakas ng pananampalataya ng mga tao sa lugar.

Sa ulat ng GMA News, sinabing may 50 taon na ang Puting Nazareno na dating yari sa kahoy pero ginawa nang semento.

Taun-taon ding dinadagsa ng mga deboto ang naturang poon na ipinagdiriwang ang kapistahan tuwing Marso.

Si Mang Gaspar, tiwalang matutupad ang kaniyang mga idinadalangin sa imahen ng Puting Nazareno.

Paghahanda sa ibang lugar

Samantala, nagsimula na ring dagsain ng mga deboto ang Senñor Divino Tesoro Shrine kung saan makikita ang isang replika ng Itim na Nazareno sa Calasiao, Pangasinan,

Sa halip na makipagsiksikan sa Quiapo, dito na lang pupunta ang mga deboto sa hilagang Luzon.

"Talaga yung pagkakaroon namin ng baby, pero kahit saan po pumunta na church, ibig sabihin nasa saloobin kung talagang galing sa puso magiging answered prayer yung panalangin," ayon sa debotong si Lovely Dayap.

Sa Huwebes ng gabi ay inaasahang mas damari pa ang mga deboto.

Handa na rin ang replica ng Itim na Nazareno sa Cagayan de Oro City na limang taon nang ipinuprusisyon.

Pero imbes na sa hapon ang prusisyon tulad ng mga nakaraang taon, magsisimula na ito bago sumapit ang 5:00 a.m. sa Biyernes.

Nakatakda namang ilabas ang replica sa Huwebes ng gabi sa Pelaez Sports Center para sa tradisyunal na pahalik. -- FRJ, GMA News


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Millions of barefoot devotees expected to join Black Nazarene procession today by Christina I. Hermoso January 9, 2015 Share this:

A sea of barefoot devotees of the Poong Hesus Nazareno clad in maroon shirts are expected to join the much-anticipated grand Traslacion procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Quiapo Church in Manila today.

It will be the eighth time since 2007 that the grand procession will take off from Quirino Grandstand, where devotees lined up yesterday for the “Pahalik sa Poong Nazareno,” which started as early at 4 a.m. due to the long lines of devotees who had to wait around three hours to get near the Nazareno.

The annual procession of the miraculous sacred image is expected to begin at around 7 a.m. today, right after the 6 a.m. Liturgy for Procession to be led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. But devotees flocking to Manila may have to pull those umbrellas out of the closet for sun protection and passing light rains.


Photos by Michael Varcas

Dr. Flaviana Hilario, deputy administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said weather condition over Metro Manila will be generally sunny on most parts of the day with chances of passing light rains this morning.

To make the procession more orderly and organized and to keep the devotees focused on the mass and not on the procession, the feast mass led by Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, Quiapo Church rector and parish priest, was held at midnight this year.

During the “Pahalik sa Poong Nazareno,” a priority lane for senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities was also set up. Organizers said a replica of the Black Nazarene will be left at the grandstand while the procession is ongoing for devotees who want to kiss the hand of the revered icon.

Now on its 408th year, the theme of this year’s Traslacion procession is “Espiritu ng Poong Hesus Nazareno, Awa at Malasakit ng Abang Simbahan.”

Ignacio once again appealed to pregnant women, those with small children, the elderly, and the disabled not to join the procession for safety reasons or to just stay away from the crowd. He, likewise, encouraged devotees “to prepare spiritually for the event.”


MPD_MMDA diapers

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs, urged devotees to keep the celebration sacred and holy. “I call on all Nazareno devotees to take to heart and live out the true meaning of what it means to be devoted – that is, prayer, sacrifice, penance, self-giving,” said Pabillo.

“With the visit of Pope Francis just nearing, let’s also take the Quiapo fiesta as an opportunity to show to the Holy Father that Filipinos have discipline in terms of their devotion, and know that it brings them closer to God and their neighbors,” Pabillo added. “We can show genuine devotion to the Black Nazarene by prayer, sacrifice, and offering. Today’s celebration also serves as a preview of how we will welcome Pope Francis when he arrives in the country next week,” he said.

As has been the tradition, many will follow the procession barefoot as a sign of respect, humility, or in fulfillment of a “panata” (vow).

While chanting “Viva Senor!” devotees will each try to touch the ropes, believed to have healing and miraculous powers, attached to the gilded carriage of the image of the Black Nazarene. Others will throw white towels to the men surrounding the image and who will in turn throw the towels back to the crowd after wiping them on the image of Christ.

Hourly masses

Hourly masses will be celebrated at the Quiapo Church, from 3 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. A band parade will be held at 7 a.m. Around the country, at least four to five million devotees will also celebrate the feast in their respective dioceses such as in Naga City and in Cagayan de Oro City.

The life-sized black wooden statue of the Black Nazarene was brought to Manila by a group of Augustinian Recollect friars from Mexico on May 31, 1607. First enshrined at the first Recollect Church in Bagumbayan (now part of Rizal Park), the Black Nazarene was transferred to a bigger Recollect Church in Intramuros, Manila, in 1608.

In 1787, Archbishop of Manila Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina ordered the transfer of the image to the Quiapo Church where it has survived great fires that destroyed the church in 1791 and 1929, strong earthquakes in 1645 and 1863, and the bombing of Manila in 1945 during World War II. Today’s celebration commemorates the transfer of the image from the Recollect Church in Intramuros to Quiapo Church in 1787.

The Recollect Fathers worked to spread devotion to the Black Nazarene all over the country. During the 19th century, Pope Pius VII granted indulgence to those who piously prayed before the image of the Black Nazarene.

The Black Nazarene is also brought out for a procession on its feast on Good Friday and on the first day of every year. Last January 1, some 8,000 devotees joined the annual thanksgiving procession through the streets of Quiapo.

Meanwhile, passenger volume at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 is expected to increase by 7 percent today due to the feast day of the Black Nazarene.

LRT Administrator Honorito Chaneco said LRT 1 ridership historically increases by an average of 7 percent every January 9.

He also announced that barefoot devotees to ride the LRT 1 to reach Carriedo Station, which is the nearest train station to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.

Based on recent government data, an average of 520,000 passengers ride the LRT 1 during weekdays. The elevated mass transit system runs from Baclaran in Pasay City to Roosevelt in Quezon City and vice versa. (With reports from Ellayn B. de Vera and Kris Bayos)


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Backpacks, umbrellas banned in Luneta Papal Mass January 8, 2015 11:20 pm
by Catherine S. Valente, Reporter


Veneration A devotee touches the foot of the original image of the Black Nazarene during the “pahalik” that drew thousands who patiently queued at Rizal Park to get a chance to kiss or touch the venerated image of Jesus Christ. Photo by Ruy Martinez

PEOPLE who want to attend Pope Francis’ Mass at Luneta (Rizal Park in Manila) on January 18 should leave their backpacks and umbrellas at home.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Thursday reminded the faithful that bags and backpacks will not be allowed. Food, drinks and other important belongings should be placed in a clear or transparent plastic bag or container.

Coloma said only fans, cap, and raincoats will be allowed as protective gear.

These guidelines were issued after President Benigno Aquino 3rd met on Thursday with members of the Cabinet, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and other church leaders to discuss security preparations for the papal visit next week.

Coloma appealed to the public to cooperate with authorities since security measures will be “strictly followed.”

“The government and the Church are united in appealing for public cooperation in following all our guidelines, which seek to ensure the smooth flow of events, and the safety of all participants,” he said.

Around 1.2 million people are expected to attend the Mass at Rizal Park, but the number could swell up to five million.
Organizers have said 20 first aid stations and 400 portalets will be set up in areas around the park.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Jeepney popemobile drives to history Jason K. Ang @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:09 AM | Friday, January 9th, 2015


POPE FRANCIS’ RIDE A new popemobile to be used by Pope Francis during his visit is a takeoff from the jeepney, a symbol of Filipino ingenuity. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Pope Francis will be riding the first jeepney converted into a popemobile, the unofficial designation for any motor vehicle used by the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, during his visit to Manila.

When he does, the US military war horse ingenious Filipinos turned into a public transport vehicle will drive into automotive history.

The white popemobile is built on a brand-new jeepney chassis, converted to a secure platform to give the faithful a good view of the Pontiff. It is every inch a Philippine jeepney, from the long bumper with steel “bull bar” up front, to the stainless steel strips adorning the sides, to the checkered plate metal step at the rear.

The papal coat of arms adorns the hood, roof and sides and includes the emblem of the Society of Jesus, an eight-pointed star symbolizing the Virgin Mary, and a spikenard representing St. Joseph. On each of the jeepney’s flanks, is a glass cross, sculpted by renowned artist Ramon Orlina.


PAPAL VISIT COAT OF ARMS: pope francisGlass crosses by Orlina

“It was meant to be, or maybe it was divine intervention,” said Orlina of the glass crosses.

The sculptures were originally commissioned for a church, but a bishop nixed the project. Then he got a call from Edison Cham, CEO of ECTK, a company that builds armored vehicles.

The glass crosses fit perfectly on the popemobile, an elegant touch that still manages to evoke the immense customization usually done on jeepneys.

Entrance is of course at the rear, with a folding rear step covered in red carpet unfurling down to the pavement. The passenger compartment is an airy three-seat space, with the papal seat front and center. At the sides are two auxiliary chairs for Archbishops Luis Cardinal Tagle and Socrates Villegas.

Each of the seats is equipped with a seatbelt, lest the vehicle be flagged down by diaper-wearing traffic constables from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. Interior surfaces are trimmed in white leather, including the side-grab bars and the roof liner.

There’s another concession to comfort: air conditioning.

Although the sides of the vehicle are open, cold air is blown out of a pair of vents flanking the papal seats. Electric fans, another common jeepney feature, help cool down the cabin. Mounted on the left side of the passenger compartment is a collection of rosaries from the Vatican.

Swiss guard is driver

Driving the vehicle will be a member of the Pope’s traveling entourage, presumably a Swiss guard. He will have to be capable of driving a stick shift, as the popemobile uses a trusty diesel engine, complete with authentic rumble, mated to a five-speed floor-mounted manual shift.

Pope Francis eschews luxury cars, challenging priests to think about the poor and needy when they consider riding such vehicles. As a cardinal and even as Pope, he has been known to take public transportation.

He will surely appreciate the charms of this custom-made jeepney, a popemobile that is truly Filipino.


EARLIER REPORT FROM THE INQUIRER

PH to secure Pope Francis in custom-built ‘popemobile’ Agence France-Presse 4:32 PM | Thursday, November 27th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will custom-build a “popemobile” for Pope Francis to travel in during his visit to the fervently Catholic nation in January, organizers said Thursday.

“He is our visitor and we can’t let anything bad happen to him,” the government’s chief protocol officer Marciano Paynor said, adding however that there were “no specific threats.”

Pope Francis, who has shunned the pomp of his predecessors, said earlier this year he prefers to use open-top cars rather than the Vatican’s bulletproof “popemobile” used by previous pontiffs, which he called a “sardine can.”

“It is true something could happen to me but let’s be realistic, at my age I do not have much to lose,” he said in June, adding that the “popemobile” made it hard to connect with the faithful.

Paynor declined to give the specifications of the vehicle to be used in the Philippines for security reasons, but said the pope might opt for an open car for some appearances.

A total of six million people are expected to turn up when the Pontiff hears mass in the city of Tacloban, ravaged by last year’s super typhoon “Yolanda,” on January 17 and in Manila’s main outdoor park the following day, he said.

“The Pope requested that it be kept simple. He wants nothing flamboyant,” said Father Antonio Pascual from the organizing committee.

The “popemobile” was being designed in coordination with Vatican security, said presidential communications undersecretary Jess Yu, another member of the organizing committee.

“Definitely, the Pope will be visible to the public (from the vehicle),” Yu said.

In August, comments by the preparatory committee sparked speculation that the pope could be transported in a jeepney — a common form of cheap public transport, often decorated with colorful religious artwork, evolved from the jeep.

However officials would not confirm the speculation Thursday.

The last pope to visit the Philippines, John Paul II, rode a white “popemobile” in 1995, where he waved to crowds from a glass, bulletproof cage at the back of the vehicle. Authorities later uncovered an alleged plot by Al-Qaeda to assassinate John Paul while he was in Manila.

The bulletproof “popemobile” was first introduced after the attempted assassination of John Paul in 1981.

Two flower-bearing orphans will welcome Francis when he arrives at Manila airport from Colombo at dusk on January 15, organizers said.

Pope Francis will then spend the entire day on January 17 hearing mass and comforting victims of Yolanda in Tacloban and Palo town.

Yolanda, the strongest storm to hit land, left over 7,300 people dead or missing in November last year after it triggered tsunami-like storm surges that wiped out entire towns.

One year after the disaster, survivors are mired in deeper poverty as they struggle to rebuild their lives.


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

50 bomb-sniffing dogs protect pope By Francisco Tuyay, Joyce Pangco Pañares and Vito Barcelo | Jan. 09, 2015 at 12:01am

MANILA ---THE government will deploy more than 50 bomb-sniffing dogs and suspend permits to carry firearms to ensure the safety of Pope Francis when he visits the Philippines on Jan. 15.

Police spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the suspension of permits to carry firearms outside of residence will take effect upon the Pope’s arrival on Jan. 15, and will be lifted once he departs.

Mayor said only policemen, military and members of other law enforcement agencies with official tasks during the Pope’s visit would be allowed to possess and carry firearms.


Commemorative stamps. A Philippine Postal Corp. employee counts the Pope Francis commemorative stamps at the head office in Manila. Sonny Espiritu

Violators of the order will face criminal charges and the revocation of the privilege to carry firearms, he said.

He added that security guards will be allowed to carry their guns if they are on duty in areas near where the Pope will visit, as long as they are in proper uniform.

The military on Thursday said it will deploy 32 bomb-sniffing dogs in Metro Manila to cover areas where the Pope will be, and 22 more dogs in Leyte.

It is also fielding 100 snipers in high-rise buildings near the Quirino Grandstand and other critical areas along the Pope’s route.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said government troops would provide security in all 44 activities scheduled for Pope Francis in Manila, Palo and Tacloban City from Jan. 15 to 19.

Catapang said authorities were concerned that people would surge toward the Pope in their desire to get nearer him.

The Philippine National Police will deploy 25,000 officers while the Armed Forces will commit 17,000 soldiers to provide security.

President Benigno Aquino III has tasked retired Gen. Emmanuel Bautista as the point person on security preparations for the visit of Pope Francis.

Bautista, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is currently an undersecretary in the Office of the President designated as executive director of the security, justice and peace cluster of the Cabinet.

Aquino made the designation during his meeting Thursday with members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Cabinet officials involved in the preparations for the papal visit.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma appealed to the public who will attend events related to the papal visit to follow protocol to ensure the safety of Pope Francis.

For the mass in Luneta on Jan. 18, Coloma reminded attendees not to bring umbrellas and backpacks and to use instead transparent or clear containers as well as raincoats, hats, and hand fans.

Among those who attended Thursday’s meeting were CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Deputy Head of Mission Reverend Monsignor Chibuike Onyeaghala, and CBCP Secretary Fr. Rufino Cescon Jr.

The bishops urged Filipino devotees to observe discipline and to practice respect for each other during the papal visit.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines also welcomed the government’s move to ban liquor and the carrying of guns and deadly weapons during the Pope’s visit.


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Student Christian Group: Pope being prevented from seeing poor
By Vito Barcelo | Jan. 08, 2015 at 12:01am


Plea to Francis. The families of political prisoners and victims of
summary killings hold up their letters to Pope Francis asking him to
join them in their pursuit of justice. Manny Palmerno


A GROUP on Wednesday expressed fears the government will not allow Pope Francis to witness the poverty situation in the country particularly the slums of Metro Manila.

“We fear that the government will not let his holiness truly witness the dire situation of the vast majority of Filipinos living in poverty,” Einstein Recedes, spokesman of the Student Christian Movement, told ucanews.

Pope Francis is expected to visit the Philippines from Jan. 15 to 19, but his itinerary does not include taking a glimpse of the poverty in the Philippines.

“We urge Pope Francis to surprise the Filipino people by paying a visit to the darkest corners of Philippine society, where the hope and love he harbors is needed the most,” Recedes said.

He made his statement even as the Vatican reportedly will announce today the winners of the raffle for gifts that Pope Francis received, including a Fiat Panda 4X4 in papal white that the pope gave away to raise money for the homeless in Rome.

Aside from the white Fiat Panda which will be the top prize, the Vatican said the raffle will include 12 other top prizes plus 30 unspecified consolation prizes, which were given by unidentified donors to the pope. The winning numbers will be posted on the Vatican website.

The pope is raising money for the poor through the raffle that was first publicized by a poster that went up at the Vatican around November.

The Fiat car that the pope is raffling is not his famous white “Popemobile,” which is a 1984 Renault 4.

In addition to the 13 items listed, there are more than 30 unspecified “consolation prizes.” It’s not clear who gave the raffle items to Pope Francis.

Tickets for the raffle cost 10 euros, which is about $12 these days thanks to the falling value of the European currency.

Aiding the homeless and the poor has been a frequent topic of conversation with the pope, who received 400 sleeping bags with the seal of the Vatican sewed on as his birthday present. They were distributed to the needy in Rome.

Recedes hoped the Pope would “diverge from his official itinerary and make surprise visits to the urban poor and peripheral communities” during his visit here.

However, government authorities said Pope Francis’ safety and security was their utmost concern and changing the Pontiff’s itinerary would be too risky.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, on the other hand, admitted that ensuring Pope Francis’ security may be “challenging” because he was known for his spontaneity and his habit of breaking protocol in order to reach out to people.

CBCP secretary-general Marvin Mejia said the government had assured Catholic Church officials that they were ready even for the surprises that might come during his five-day visit.

He said while the Pope had a habit of veering away from set activities, it was presumed “that the general itinerary will be followed.”

“On the government side, they said that even the surprises are being prepared for,” Mejia said. “Regarding surprises in the itinerary, there have been meetings, countless meetings and officials coming in. Let’s just hope that they will follow the itinerary.”

Recedes said the message of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines “should not be clouded by bureaucracy and stuffy official itineraries, vagaries that the pontiff himself just recently denounced in his annual message to the Roman Curia”.

“We urge Pope Francis to surprise the Filipino people by paying a visit to the darkest corners of Philippine society where the hope and love he harbors is needed the most,” Recedes said. With AFP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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