PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

POPE ARRIVES IN MANILA

POPE FRANCIS IS FINALLY HERE! GREETS NOY AND BISHOPS


Pope Francis has arrived in the Philippines! From the pope’s departure from the plane to his riding the popemobile, we have the photos here. (screengrabbed from RTVM and the Vatican official YouTube channel) MANILA, Philippines—Pope Francis is finally here!  The pontiff was all smiles as we waved to the roaring crowd of Filipinos who waited all day for Pope Francis. The pope didn’t look the least tired as he shook hands with President Benigno Aquino III and the long line of bishops at the Villamor tarmac. Once the courtesies were over, it was time for Pope Francis to ride the popemobile and greet the multitude of Filipinos. Check out the photo gallery below! .......

ALSO: Pope Francis arrives in Philippines


MANILA, Philippines - Pope Francis is now in the Philippines for his historic state and apostolic visit. The plane carrying Pope Francis arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 5:32 p.m. The Pope just came from his two-day visit to Sri Lanka. President Benigno Aquino III led the nation in welcoming the pope, along with 12 government officials and 12 clergymen. "Our nation is honored to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis as he joins the Filipino people for an apostolic visit," Aquino said in a statement ahead of the pontiff's arrival. "This is a momentous occasion for us. We shall be in the presence of the Vicar of Christ, a man who leads the Catholic Church along the path of mercy and compassion."  READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippine Dominican nuns hoping for Francisca's sainthood


A nearly-400-year-old congregation of Dominican nuns is hoping that mercy from the global Catholic Church hierarchy will lead to the group’s biggest triumph. That triumph is the sainthood for Mother Francisca del Espiritu Santo, O.P., the founder of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Quezon City. The Quezon City-headquartered congregation submitted a positio to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS) last December 8, just weeks before Pope Francis' scheduled arrival in the Philippines for a pastoral visit. (The positio is the collection of documents and manifestos proving the path to holiness of a candidate for sainthood, be it by martyrdom or heroic virtues.) READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace expects Pope visit to have 'profound effect' on Phl political landscape


Malacañang is expecting Pope Francis’ five-day visit to have a profound impact on the country’s political leaders and to bring about a “spiritual renewal” to Filipinos who are facing difficulties. Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Herminio Coloma Jr. said the terms mercy and compassion, the theme of the papal visit, are “very basic and very deeply emotional concepts that could find resonance in the heart of every Filipino.” “It is difficult to imagine that our people especially our leaders will not be profoundly affected by this experience especially when you speak of mercy and compassion,” Coloma said in a press conference in Manila Hotel yesterday. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Palo Church readies 1 million raincoats


The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City, Leyte has been developed in preparation for Pope Francis' visit to the province on January 17, 2015. A Holy Mass will be held at the airport upon the arrival of the pope. (Photo by Laureen Mondonedo-Ynot/Sunnex) COURTESY OF SUNSTAR ---Anticipating it will rain in Leyte province due to an approaching storm, Fr. Amadeo Alvero, Palo archdiocese communications director, said the Church prepared for distribution of raincoats that came from donors. Alvero said there could be some changes or delays in the Pope’s schedule because of the storm. “So far, everything is all set,” he said. “There will be ponchos to be distributed at the Mass site for our pilgrims,” Alvero said. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Storming heaven with prayers: ‘Amang’ unlikely to make landfall


The storm approaching typhoon-battered Eastern Visayas, coinciding with Pope Francis’ visit is unlikely to make landfall, the weather bureau said on Wednesday. Tropical Storm “Amang” (international name: Mekkhala) will enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday, when the Pope arrives. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said while Amang would intensify as it nears Eastern Visayas, this would likely weaken before it hits land. The region as well as surrounding provinces in southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao have been battered by back-to-back Typhoon “Ruby” and Tropical Storm “Seniang” last month. As of Wednesday, Amang has intensified from a tropical depression into a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gusts up to 80 kph while moving west northwest toward Eastern Visayas at 19 kph. “It is expected to intensify into a tropical storm before entering the Philippine area of responsibility by (Thursday) morning and will be named Amang. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Cheers, tears welcome Pope Francis


Pope Francis waves to students (not pictured) delivering a performance shortly after arriving at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Thursday. AFP PHOTO ----LOUD cheers, tears of joy and the pealing of bells greeted Pope Francis and his entourage as soon as his plane touched down on Runway 06 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 5:36 p.m. on Thursday. Emotions ran high when Shepherd One, the name given to the Sri Lankan plane that carried the pontiff, became visible from afar. It was the only aircraft allowed to fly and land at the NAIA 30 minutes prior to the pope’s arrival.READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pope Francis' arrival in Philippines; greets Noy, bishops


AT THE VILLAMOR AIRBASE WITH THE PRESIDENT

MANILA, IANUARY 15, 2015 (PHILSTAR) 7:10pm - Pope Francis has arrived in the Philippines! From the pope’s departure from the plane to his riding the popemobile, we have the photos here. (screengrabbed from RTVM and the Vatican official YouTube channel)

The pontiff was all smiles as we waved to the roaring crowd of Filipinos who waited all day for Pope Francis. The pope didn’t look the least tired as he shook hands with President Benigno Aquino III and the long line of bishops at the Villamor tarmac. Once the courtesies were over, it was time for Pope Francis to ride the popemobile and greet the multitude of Filipinos.

PHOTOS


WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT AND DFA CHIEF


2 LUCKY CHILDREN WELCOME POPE


WITH FILIPINO HOSTS IN THE POPEMOBILE


PHILSTAR

Pope Francis arrives in Philippines By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated January 15, 2015 - 5:35pm 3 140 googleplus0 0


Pope Francis waves as he boards a flight for Manila, following a two-day visit to Sri Lanka, in Colombo, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. AP/Saurabh Das

MANILA, Philippines - Pope Francis is now in the Philippines for his historic state and apostolic visit.

The plane carrying Pope Francis arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 5:32 p.m. The Pope just came from his two-day visit to Sri Lanka.

President Benigno Aquino III led the nation in welcoming the pope, along with 12 government officials and 12 clergymen.

"Our nation is honored to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis as he joins the Filipino people for an apostolic visit," Aquino said in a statement ahead of the pontiff's arrival. "This is a momentous occasion for us. We shall be in the presence of the Vicar of Christ, a man who leads the Catholic Church along the path of mercy and compassion."

Among those who were able to personally greet and shake hands with the Pope were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

Two children were also among those to first welcome the pope and were fortunate to receive a hug from him.

It was a festive atmosphere at the Villamor Airbase as 1,200 Filipino youth from Catholic schools and parishes performed a 15-minute series of dances to welcome the Pope. They pumped their raised palms to the air and waved white flags to rhythmic music about peace and "Papa Francisco."

One of them, 14-year-old Alaiza Barrientos, told the Associated Press that she wished her encounter with the pontiff would help realize her prayers for the recovery of her ailing grandmother.

"I'm happy that I will see the pope because I think all my wishes will come true," said Barrientos, part of a 164-member parish dance troupe. "I am praying for several wishes including good health for my grandmother who was found to have a tumor in her spinal cord."

Pope Francis did not give a public statement upon his arrival. After a brief stay at the Kalayaan Lounge of the Villamor Airbase, he proceeded to the pope mobile for his first motorcade here, heading to his official residence at the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue in Manila.

Several roads were closed for his motorcade but excited crowds lined up along the papal route to personally see the man hailed as the people's pope.

Pope Francis did not seem to be tired as he stood on board the pope mobile during his entire motorcade, cheerfully waving at the Filipinos raring to catch a glimpse of him.

For Precy Asistio, a 60-year-old who waited near the Apostolic Nunciature, just a wave from the pontiff will make her day.

"We're waiting for Pope Francis so we can be blessed," Asistio said. "Once we see him, we'll go home already, as long as he waves at us."

The non-bullet-proof pope mobile arrived at the Apostolic Nunciature shortly before 7 p.m. There was no untoward incident during the motorcade as the crowds appeared to be disciplined in welcoming the pope.

Pope Francis is the first pontiff to visit this predominantly Catholic nation in 20 years.

During his five-day visit, which has the theme "Mercy and Compassion," the pope will be meeting with the nation's religous leaders, youth, and families in various activities.

The highlights of his trip include a meeting with Aquino in Malacañang Palace tomorrow, his interaction with the typhoon victims in Tacloban and Palo, Leyte, and a holy mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park which is expected to draw millions.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, archbishop of Manila, said he hoped the widely-awaited visit by Francis, the first Latin American head of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Christian community, would be festive and spiritually uplifting and nurture compassion at a time when the country is still recovering from recent deadly disasters, including Haiyan.

"It's like a big, big, big, big national fiesta," a beaming Tagle told The Associated Press in an interview on the eve of the pope's arrival. The visit, he said, "comes at that point when people would really be helped by a moral and spiritual boost coming from someone who really cares."

The government has declared national holidays during the pope's visit, which runs through Monday. - with Associated Press


PHILSTAR

Philippine Dominican nuns hoping for Francisca's sainthood By Mia Rosienna Mallari (philstar.com) | Updated January 15, 2015 - 3:39pm 1 12 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - A nearly-400-year-old congregation of Dominican nuns is hoping that mercy from the global Catholic Church hierarchy will lead to the group’s biggest triumph.

That triumph is the sainthood for Mother Francisca del Espiritu Santo, O.P., the founder of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Quezon City.

The Quezon City-headquartered congregation submitted a positio to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS) last December 8, just weeks before Pope Francis' scheduled arrival in the Philippines for a pastoral visit. (The positio is the collection of documents and manifestos proving the path to holiness of a candidate for sainthood, be it by martyrdom or heroic virtues.)

Even the current prioress general of the congregation, Mo. Jesusa Enginco, O.P., is confident Mo. Francisca (carrying the civil name Francisca de Fuentes) will be declared venerable “soon.”

“I am confident that the positio will be approved in a few months,” Enginco told The Filipino Connection.

Actually, Enginco’s congregation had already submitted some pieces of evidence from the diocesan inquiry, held from July 8 to December 6, 2003, that was initiated by the Archdiocese of Manila. It took four years for the CCS to validate these pieces of evidence, said to be some 2,000 pages thick.

But CCS had told the Siena sisters to condense the submission into 500 pages.

Completing both the positio and the recommendation by a committee of historians and theologians can take decades. In the case of the Dominican Siena sisters, the congregation took seven years to finish the positio.

Fr. Vito Tomás Gómez García, O.P. is the postulator, or the person who guides the applicant organization for the sainthood cause of a candidate.

Currently, Fuentes is a Servant of God, with CCS Protocol number 2533. (There are four steps in the cause for sainthood: servant of God, venerable, blessed and saint.)

Fuentes (1647 – August 24, 1711) had “defined her life through her faith,” Enginco said.

She was born to Spanish parents who migrated in the Philippines at the height of the Spanish colonization to the Philippines in the 1600s.

After marrying at a young age and being widowed shortly after, the childless Francisca decided to devote her time to reach out to the needy “even if she had none for herself,” Enginco said.

Long before the phenomenon of human trafficking is scouring today’s world, Francisca took under her wing women and children left out of the streets, providing them with protection and education.

It was in 1682 when Francisca received the habit of a Dominican Tertiary when she was “invited” by the Franciscans and the Dominicans. (St. Francis and St. Dominic.) She chose the latter, though her religious name is inspired from St. Francis of Assisi –like today’s pope (or Jorge Mario Bergoglio).

“She lived up to her name, Francisca. She was an exemplary, a good example to everyone,” Enginco said. “Alam sa buong Intramuros iyan noon (People in the entire Intramuros know of her deeds back then).”

Fuentes was said to have sought after the well-being of others. It wasn’t long before her strenuous efforts were recognized.

The manuscript Breave Relacion written by Fr. Juan de Santo Domingo O.P., proved to be the congregation’s primary source of information about Fuentes. Breave Relacion elucidated the genuine holy life Fuentes had lived. The manuscript was found “perfectly” intact 200 years after Fuentes’ death in 1711.

An original copy of the Breave Relacion is in Spain, but the University of Santo Tomas Archives, found in Manila, keeps a copy in microfilm. - The Filipino Connection


PHILSTAR

Palace expects Pope visit to have 'profound effect' on Phl political landscape By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated January 15, 2015 - 5:28pm 2 9 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is expecting Pope Francis’ five-day visit to have a profound impact on the country’s political leaders and to bring about a “spiritual renewal” to Filipinos who are facing difficulties.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Herminio Coloma Jr. said the terms mercy and compassion, the theme of the papal visit, are “very basic and very deeply emotional concepts that could find resonance in the heart of every Filipino.”

“It is difficult to imagine that our people especially our leaders will not be profoundly affected by this experience especially when you speak of mercy and compassion,” Coloma said in a press conference in Manila Hotel yesterday.

“I think it will provide a good opportunity for Filipinos, especially our leaders, to be more discerning, to be more reflective and to be more considerate of the values that are indicated by the two concepts of mercy and compassion,” he added.

Pope Francis’ visit came a little more than a year before the 2016 presidential elections. It also happened as the Philippines is coping with the effects of natural disasters and grappling with issues like poverty, political divisions, and corruption allegations.

Coloma said Filipinos have an extended family system, which he described as a manifestation of a “culture of caring and sharing.” He said such culture is rooted in faith, which is part and parcel of the lives of Filipinos.

“The presence of pope in the country always brings on a spiritual renewal, a feeling of tremendous inspiration because it’s not everyday we are visited by the vicar of Christ, especially coming from the time when we’re dealing with many challenges,” the Palace official said.

“We have a pope that is able to give us enlightenment and guidance on how to discern what appropriate responses we should make in the light of these challenges,” he added.

When asked about the impact of the papal visit on Philippine policies, Coloma said the government remains sensitive to the views of the public.

“Our laws and national policies are prepared by our legislators who are directly voted into office by our people and so in all of these, we are mindful of the sentiments of the vast majority of our people,” he added.

Coloma said Pope Francis will be meeting a country that is “vastly different” from the one encountered by Pope John Paul II in 1995. He said the population of the Philippines has risen to more than 100 million from about 68 million two decades ago.

Coloma also claimed that the government has adopted a different approach in addressing poverty, a recurring theme in Pope Francis’ speeches and homilies.

“The conventional wisdom is the government could just focus on attaining macroeconomic targets like GDP (gross domestic product) growth and hope that by some benevolence there will be riffle effect that will allow those in the bottom of pyramid to rise. that is not the approach anymore,” he said.

“There is now a purposive and deliberate effort to bring the fruits of development to the doorsteps of Filipino families living in the margins of poverty.”

More than 80 percent of Filipinos belong to the Roman Catholic faith, which was brought to the country by Spaniards in the 16th century.


THE INQUIRER

Palo Church readies 1 million raincoats Joey A. Gabieta @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Visayas 2:19 AM | Thursday, January 15th, 2015


The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City, Leyte has been developed in preparation for Pope Francis' visit to the province on January 17, 2015. A Holy Mass will be held at the airport upon the arrival of the pope. (Photo by Laureen Mondonedo-Ynot/Sunnex) COURTESY OF SUNSTAR.

Anticipating it will rain in Leyte province due to an approaching storm, Fr. Amadeo Alvero, Palo archdiocese communications director, said the Church prepared for distribution of raincoats that came from donors.

Alvero said there could be some changes or delays in the Pope’s schedule because of the storm.

“So far, everything is all set,” he said. “There will be ponchos to be distributed at the Mass site for our pilgrims,” Alvero said.

Umbrellas are prohibited during the Mass, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., both for security reasons and to ensure the solemnity of the occasion.

On Wednesday, a dry run was conducted by those involved in the Pope’s visit in Leyte. The activities include Mass in Tacloban and the 12-kilometer motorcade route from the Tacloban airport to the Archbishop’s Palace in Palo town. Security personnel composed of both the police and the Army conducted their simulation along the route.

Swiss guards

Swiss guards are already at the Archbishop’s Residence where Francis will have lunch with 30 survivors of last year’s supertyphoon and earthquake.

The Mass site will be opened for pilgrims at 6 p.m. on Friday and will be closed at 6 a.m. on Saturday, four hours before the Mass. Those who registered with their respective parishes will be given priority getting to the site.

At least 71,331 people from the Palo archdiocese’s 78 parishes have already registered for the event.

Those who do not have tickets issued by their parishes can still enter the Mass site but only after they are frisked by the security personnel, said Archbishop John Du of Palo. The organizers have projected about 150,000 people at the Mass site.


INQUIRER

Storming heaven with prayers: ‘Amang’ unlikely to make landfall Dona Z. Pazzibugan @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:42 AM | Thursday, January 15th, 2015

MANILA, Philippines–The storm approaching typhoon-battered Eastern Visayas, coinciding with Pope Francis’ visit is unlikely to make landfall, the weather bureau said on Wednesday.

Tropical Storm “Amang” (international name: Mekkhala) will enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday, when the Pope arrives.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said while Amang would intensify as it nears Eastern Visayas, this would likely weaken before it hits land.

The region as well as surrounding provinces in southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao have been battered by back-to-back Typhoon “Ruby” and Tropical Storm “Seniang” last month.

As of Wednesday, Amang has intensified from a tropical depression into a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gusts up to 80 kph while moving west northwest toward Eastern Visayas at 19 kph.

“It is expected to intensify into a tropical storm before entering the Philippine area of responsibility by (Thursday) morning and will be named Amang.

“However, it is predicted to weaken as it approaches the eastern seaboard, with a low possibility of making landfall,” Pagasa said in its weather advisory.

Weather forecaster Alvin Pura said the storm was expected to change to a northeast direction, moving away from Eastern Visayas.

Pura said the cold weather from the prevailing northeast monsoon would weaken the storm before it could hit land.

But even if it does not hit land, the storm will bring rains to the region when Pope Francis visits Tacloban City and neighboring Palo, in Leyte province, on Saturday, Pagasa said.

Pagasa said on that day, Tacloban and surrounding areas would have “light to moderate rains and moderate to strong winds” with likely thunderstorms as the storm moves closer toward the area.

The rainy weather will continue until Sunday, but good weather will return on Monday, the weather bureau said.


MANILA TIMES

Cheers, tears welcome Pope Francis January 15, 2015 7:10 pm


Pope Francis waves to students (not pictured) delivering a performance shortly after arriving at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Thursday. AFP PHOTO

LOUD cheers, tears of joy and the pealing of bells greeted Pope Francis and his entourage as soon as his plane touched down on Runway 06 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 5:36 p.m. on Thursday.

Emotions ran high when Shepherd One, the name given to the Sri Lankan plane that carried the pontiff, became visible from afar. It was the only aircraft allowed to fly and land at the NAIA 30 minutes prior to the pope’s arrival.

The Sri Lanka A340 aircraft settled on the tarmac of Villamor Airbase, where President Benigno Aquino 3rd and officials of the Cabinet and the Catholic Church were waiting to officially welcome the Pope and other Vatican officials, marking day one of the Catholic leader’s five-day State and Pastoral Visit.

“Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ, brings to our nation the glad tidings of faith, hope and love. Mercy and compassion are essential elements of our caring and sharing ethos.

These are the values that underpin our long term development program for achieving inclusive growth – a lofty goal that President Aquino seeks to attain during his watch,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement shortly before the prelate’s arrival.

“In solidarity with the Filipino people, we extend to His Holiness Pope Francis our warmest welcome. Mabuhay!” the Palace official added. JOEL SY EGCO


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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