PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

TAGLE THANKS POPE; FILIPINOS MOVED TO TEARS BY CARDINAL'S MESSAGE TO THE PONTIFF


Pope Francis and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle salute the crowd with the popular hand sign for "I love you" during a meeting with families at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. AP/Osservatore Romano, Pool --MANILA, JANUARY 19, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola - Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle vowed before Pope Francis on Sunday that Filipinos want to go with him as he leaves on Monday. "Not to Rome," Tagle clarified. "But to the peripheries—to the shanties, to prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, sciences, culture, education and social communications." Tagle acknowledged the pope's call for Filipinos to be "outstanding" missionaries of the faith in Asia. "We will go to these worlds to bring the light of Jesus, Jesus who is the center of your pastoral visit and the cornerstone of the Church," the bishop said. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: FULL TEXT of Pope Francis' homily at Rizal Park


Pope Francis waves the the faithful as he arrives at Rizal Park to celebrate his final Mass in Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Millions filled Manila's main park and surrounding areas for Pope Francis' final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday, braving a steady rain to hear the pontiff's message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country's most downtrodden and destitute. AP/Bullit Marquez
Below is the full text of Pope Francis' homily at Sunday Mass at Rizal Park in Manila on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. “A child is born to us, a son is given us” (Is 9:5). It is a special joy for me to celebrate Santo Niño Sunday with you. The image of the Holy Child Jesus accompanied the spread of the Gospel in this country from the beginning. Dressed in the robes of a king, crowned and holding the sceptre, the globe and the cross, he continues to remind us of the link between God’s Kingdom and the mystery of spiritual childhood. He tells us this in today’s Gospel: “Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Mk 10:15). The Santo Niño continues to proclaim to us that the light of God’s grace has shone upon a world dwelling in darkness, bringing the Good News of our freedom from slavery, and guiding us in the paths of peace, right and justice. The Santo Niño also reminds us of our call to spread the reign of Christ throughout the world. CONTINUE READING....

ALSO: Millions flock to Rizal Park ahead of papal mass


MANILA, Philippines - Hundreds of thousands of people have already gathered and thousands more are walking to Rizal Park (formerly Luneta) for the the Mass that will be celebrated by Pope Francis on Sunday afternoon. Authorities said that as of 9 a.m., at least two million people are already inside the Rizal Park. Meanwhile, at least 10 people were reported hurt after a brief scuffle of pilgrims at the Maria Orosa Street entrance. The incident happened at around 5 a.m. The papal Mass is scheduled at 3:30 p.m., after Pope Francis' youth encounter at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where more than 100,000 people are expected to gather. Due to the scuffle, policemen and volunteers formed a human barricade at the Maria Orosa Street entrance to prevent another incident. As of this posting, people are orderly trooping into Rizal Park for the afternoon papal mass. THIS IS THE FULL REPROT...

ALSO: Pope Francis asks thousands to join him in a moment of silence for 27-year-old Kristel; What faith!


Kristel Mae Padasas, the girl who died serving in the papal mass in Tacloban City, on Saturday, January 17, 2015. From Kristel's Facebook page MANILA, Philippines - It was Pope Francis' turn to be inspired and admire one person's faith during a meeting on Sunday with the father of the woman who died after the pontiff's Mass in Tacloban City.
Thousands of Filipinos have been moved by Pope Francis in his homilies and remarks during the last three days that he has been in the Philippines. The Roman Pontiff made people cry when he asked thousands of young people at the University of the Philippines to join him in silence and pray for 27-year-old Kristel Mae "Mhai" Padasas. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO KRISTEL MAE, VOLUNTEER: Pope prays for girl who died in Tacloban after mass


Kristel Mae "Mhai" Padasas, the volunteer worker who was hit by a scaffolding that collapsed before the papal mass in Tacloban City. In the Mass he celebrated at the University of Santo Tomas, Pope Francis asked the thousands of young people before him to pray for Kristel and her parents. The victim was an only child. Photo from Kristel's Facebook account MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED 5:55 p.m.) - Pope Francis on Sunday asked for prayers for the volunteer worker who died before the papal mass in Tacloban City on Saturday morning.
"I would like all of you, young like her, to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we pray to our mama, our lady, in heaven," the pope said before thousands of young people during a Mass at the University of Santo Tomas grounds in Manila. The pope recalled that the 27-year-old volunteer named Kristel died after being pinned by a scaffolding before the Mass in Tacloban City started. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: A surprise side trip to see orphans


Children at the Blessed Charles de Foucauld shelter in Manila were treated to a surprise papal visit on Friday. "The pope stayed 10 minutes and told them they are not alone because Jesus loves them," shelter director Matthieu Dauchez said. "This is very important to them. Here in Manila it is not unusual to see children sleep among the garbage. This is what the pope's visit and words mean to them, that they are not garbage." PHOTO FROM NBC
---MANILA --POPE Francis made an unannounced visit to an orphanage minutes after he celebrated Mass in the Manila Cathedral Friday as government officials denied a report in a British tabloid that they were hiding away street children during the papal visit. Fr. Matthieu Dauchez, director of the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation, said Vatican security advised him that Pope Francis would visit with more than 270 orphans along General Luna Street five minutes before the Mass ended. READ FULL REPORT FROM MANILA STANDARD...

PH Nationa Defense spokesman lauded, thanked Filipino people for 'goodness", conduct and cooperation


People surge. About 200,000 people from various parts of Eastern Visayas wait in the rain for the start of the mass, presided by Pope Francis, at the Daniel Z.Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City on Saturday. MEL CASPE --ONE of the blessings of Pope Francis’ visit to the country is not only the apparent distraction of criminals from their usual illegal activities, but the generally cooperative and good behavior of Filipinos, according to authorities. “We wish to thank our countrymen for their cooperation in warmly welcoming his Holiness and appeal again for the same gesture, conduct, and cooperation for the next (few) days,” said Department of National Defense spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez said. Galvez said no untoward incidents were recorded during the arrival of Pope Francis in Villamor Air Base on Thursday, visit and courtesy call at Malacanang, Mass at the Manila Cathedral and Meeting with the Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Friday. READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Tagle thanks pope, moves Pinoys to tears


Pope Francis and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle salute the crowd with the popular hand sign for "I love you" during a meeting with families at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. AP/Osservatore Romano, Pool

MANILA, JANUARY 19, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola - Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle vowed before Pope Francis on Sunday that Filipinos want to go with him as he leaves on Monday.

"Not to Rome," Tagle clarified. "But to the peripheries—to the shanties, to prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, sciences, culture, education and social communications."

Tagle acknowledged the pope's call for Filipinos to be "outstanding" missionaries of the faith in Asia.

"We will go to these worlds to bring the light of Jesus, Jesus who is the center of your pastoral visit and the cornerstone of the Church," the bishop said.

He also promised Pope Francis that Filipinos will pray for him, as he would ask them at the conclusion of his audiences during his five-day visit in the Philippines.

"Your Holiness, you are blessed. Jesus prays for you. We your beloved Filipinos unite ourselves with Jesus in praying for you to God the Father," Tagle said.

The charismatic Filipino cleric, whom observers call a "rising star" in the Church, relayed the faithful's gratitude to the Pope for his apostolic visit.

"I say, 'Maraming saamt po' on behalf of the street children, the orphans, the widows, the homless, the informal settlers, the laborers, the farmers, the fisher folk, the sick, the abandoned elderly," he said.

Audiences, meanwhile, admitted on social media that they became emotional listening to Tagle's message to the visiting pontiff.


PHILSTAR

FULL TEXT: Pope Francis' homily at Rizal Park (philstar.com) | Updated January 18, 2015 - 5:32pm 20 154 googleplus1 2


Pope Francis waves the the faithful as he arrives at Rizal Park to celebrate his final Mass in Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Millions filled Manila's main park and surrounding areas for Pope Francis' final Mass in the Philippines on Sunday, braving a steady rain to hear the pontiff's message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country's most downtrodden and destitute. AP/Bullit Marquez

Below is the full text of Pope Francis' homily at Sunday Mass at Rizal Park in Manila on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015.

“A child is born to us, a son is given us” (Is 9:5). It is a special joy for me to celebrate Santo Niño Sunday with you. The image of the Holy Child Jesus accompanied the spread of the Gospel in this country from the beginning. Dressed in the robes of a king, crowned and holding the sceptre, the globe and the cross, he continues to remind us of the link between God’s Kingdom and the mystery of spiritual childhood. He tells us this in today’s Gospel: “Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Mk 10:15). The Santo Niño continues to proclaim to us that the light of God’s grace has shone upon a world dwelling in darkness, bringing the Good News of our freedom from slavery, and guiding us in the paths of peace, right and justice. The Santo Niño also reminds us of our call to spread the reign of Christ throughout the world.

In these days, throughout my visit, I have listened to you sing the song: “We are all God’s children”. That is what the Santo Niño tells us. He reminds us of our deepest identity. All of us are God’s children, members of God’s family. Today Saint Paul has told us that in Christ we have become God’s adopted children, brothers and sisters in Christ. This is who we are. This is our identity. We saw a beautiful expression of this when Filipinos rallied around our brothers and sisters affected by the typhoon.

The Apostle tells us that because God chose us, we have been richly blessed! God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Eph 1:3). These words have a special resonance in the Philippines, for it is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia.

FULL STORY: Pope's final homily in Philippines: Protect the family

God chose and blessed us for a purpose: to be holy and blameless in his sight (Eph 1:4). He chose us, each of us to be witnesses of his truth and his justice in this world. He created the world as a beautiful garden and asked us to care for it. But through sin, man has disfigured that natural beauty; through sin, man has also destroyed the unity and beauty of our human family, creating social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.


Pope Francis aboard his popemobile greets the faithful welcoming him at the Quirino grandstand in Manila on January 18, 2015. Photo by Zalrian Sayat/EPA COURTESY OF RAPPLER.COM

Sometimes, when we see the troubles, difficulties and wrongs all around us, we are tempted to give up. It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal. But the Bible tells us that the great threat to God’s plan for us is, and always has been, the lie. The devil is the father of lies. Often he hides his snares behind the appearance of sophistication, the allure of being “modern”, “like everyone else”. He distracts us with the promise of ephemeral pleasures, superficial pastimes. And so we squander our God-given gifts by tinkering with gadgets; we squander our money on gambling and drink; we turn in on ourselves. We forget to remain focused on the things that really matter. We forget to remain, at heart, children of God. That is sin: [to] forget at heart that we are children of God. For children, as the Lord tells us, have their own wisdom, which is not the wisdom of the world. That is why the message of the Santo Niño is so important. He speaks powerfully to all of us. He reminds us of our deepest identity, of what we are called to be as God’s family.

The Santo Niño also reminds us that this identity must be protected. The Christ Child is the protector of this great country. When he came into the world, his very life was threatened by a corrupt king. Jesus himself needed to be protected. He had an earthly protector: Saint Joseph. He had an earthly family, the Holy Family of Nazareth. So he reminds us of the importance of protecting our families, and those larger families which are the Church, God’s family, and the world, our human family. Sadly, in our day, the family all too often needs to be protected against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture.

In the Gospel, Jesus welcomes children, he embraces them and blesses them (Mk 10:16). We too need to protect, guide and encourage our young people, helping them to build a society worthy of their great spiritual and cultural heritage. Specifically, we need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected. And we need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to life on the streets.


Pope Francis aboard his popemobile kisses a child prior to his mass at the Quirino grandstand in Manila on January 18, 2015. Photo by Zalrian Sayat/EPA COURTESY OF RAPPLER.COM

It was a frail child, in need of protection, who brought God’s goodness, mercy and justice into the world. He resisted the dishonesty and corruption which are the legacy of sin, and he triumphed over them by the power of his cross. Now, at the end of my visit to the Philippines, I commend you to him, to Jesus who came among us as a child. May he enable all the beloved people of this country to work together, protecting one another, beginning with your families and communities, in building a world of justice, integrity and peace. May the Santo Niño continue to bless the Philippines and may he sustain the Christians of this great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of the joy of the Gospel, in Asia and in the whole world.

Please don’t forget to pray for me! God bless you !


PHILSTAR

Millions flock to Rizal Park ahead of papal mass (philstar.com) | Updated January 18, 2015 - 9:38am 9 297 googleplus4 1


Photo by RP Ocampo

MANILA, Philippines - Hundreds of thousands of people have already gathered and thousands more are walking to Rizal Park (formerly Luneta) for the the Mass that will be celebrated by Pope Francis on Sunday afternoon.

Authorities said that as of 9 a.m., at least two million people are already inside the Rizal Park.

Meanwhile, at least 10 people were reported hurt after a brief scuffle of pilgrims at the Maria Orosa Street entrance. The incident happened at around 5 a.m.

The papal Mass is scheduled at 3:30 p.m., after Pope Francis' youth encounter at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where more than 100,000 people are expected to gather.

Due to the scuffle, policemen and volunteers formed a human barricade at the Maria Orosa Street entrance to prevent another incident.

As of this posting, people are orderly trooping into Rizal Park for the afternoon papal mass.


PHILSTAR

MOMENT OF SILENCE: Pope Francis meets Kristel's father "What faith" (philstar.com) | Updated January 18, 2015 - 9:29pm 18 68 googleplus0 0


Kristel Mae Padasas, the girl who died serving in the papal mass in Tacloban City, on Saturday, January 17, 2015. From Kristel's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines - It was Pope Francis' turn to be inspired and admire one person's faith during a meeting on Sunday with the father of the woman who died after the pontiff's Mass in Tacloban City.

Thousands of Filipinos have been moved by Pope Francis in his homilies and remarks during the last three days that he has been in the Philippines.

The Roman Pontiff made people cry when he asked thousands of young people at the University of the Philippines to join him in silence and pray for 27-year-old Kristel Mae "Mhai" Padasas.

After the youth encounter at the university, Pope Francis had a private meeting with Kristel's grieving father, Paulino, and an uncle in the Apostolic Nunciature.

"The Holy Father was searching for words. How do you console with words a father who has just lost an only child?" Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle told media at the Diamond Hotel after the Mass in Rizal Park (formerly Luneta).

Tagle said that during the meeting, Paulino surprised Pope Francis with his words.

"This grieving father said, I have accepted this. I have resigned to the fact that my daughter is no longer with me. I rejoice that she died serving other people, especially serving the papal mass," the cardinal said.

He added that Paulino, even as he is grieving, was happy that his daughter died "a meaningful death."

Tagle said that when he translated Paulino's words to Pope Francis, the pontiff just shook his head.

"He said, 'What faith.' He thanked this man," he said.

Tagle said that the pope admired the way that Paulino showed compassion and mercy, the theme of the pontiff's visit in the Philippines.

"The holy father was surprised, in a pleasant way. Here he was tring to show compassion and mercy before the holy father," the cardinal added.

Kristel died when she was hit in the head by a scaffolding that collapsed before the pope celebrated Mass in Tacloban City.

The woman, whose mother is working in Hong Kong, is a volunteer worker for Catholic Relief Services. She was a resident of Taguig City and a native of Buhi, Camarines Sur.

In a statement, the Catholic Relief Services said Kristel's colleagues describe her as "someone who loved to laugh and who was always ready to assist outside her normal duties."

"She found great joy in being able to contribute to the recovery effort by working directly with communities and families," the organization said.

 
VIDEO URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ibB_qVCJW0


PHILSTAR

KRISTEL MAE, VOLUNTEER: Pope prays for girl who died in Tacloban after mass (philstar.com) | Updated January 18, 2015 - 11:00am 11 487 googleplus0 0


Kristel Mae "Mhai" Padasas, the volunteer worker who was hit by a scaffolding that collapsed before the papal mass in Tacloban City. In the Mass he celebrated at the University of Santo Tomas, Pope Francis asked the thousands of young people before him to pray for Kristel and her parents. The victim was an only child. Photo from Kristel's Facebook account

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED 5:55 p.m.) - Pope Francis on Sunday asked for prayers for the volunteer worker who died before the papal mass in Tacloban City on Saturday morning.

"I would like all of you, young like her, to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we pray to our mama, our lady, in heaven," the pope said before thousands of young people during a Mass at the University of Santo Tomas grounds in Manila.

The pope recalled that the 27-year-old volunteer named Kristel died after being pinned by a scaffolding before the Mass in Tacloban City started.

The victim's full name is Kristel Mae "Mhai" Padasas, voluteer at the VSO Bahaginan. According to her Facebook account, she lived in Taguig City and was a native of Buhi, Camarines Sur.

The scaffolding collapsed due to the strong winds spawned by Tropical Storm "Amang." The tropical cyclone was also the reason why the pope had to cut short his visit in Tacloban City.

The pope had said that he decided to come to the Philippines after seeing the suffering of Tacloban City because of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

After praying for the girl, the pope also asked the youthful crowd before him to pray for the victim's parents.

He said Kristel was an only daughter.

"Let us pray for her parents. She was an only daughter. Her mother is coming from Hong Kong. His father is coming from Manila," the pope said.

Upon his return to the papal embassy, Pope Francis met with the girl's daughter.

Pope Francis was at the University of Santo Tomas for the youth encounter.

Reports said that officials of the university were expecting at least 100,000 people to witness the youth encounter with the pope.

After the youth encounter, the pope will celebrate a Papal Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, his fourth day in the Philippines.

The pope will leave the Philippines on Monday, January 19.


MANILA STANDARD

A surprise side trip to see orphans By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | Jan. 17, 2015 at 12:01am


Children at the Blessed Charles de Foucauld shelter in Manila were treated to a surprise papal visit on Friday. "The pope stayed 10 minutes and told them they are not alone because Jesus loves them," shelter director Matthieu Dauchez said. "This is very important to them. Here in Manila it is not unusual to see children sleep among the garbage. This is what the pope's visit and words mean to them, that they are not garbage." PHOTO -CAPTION FROM NBC

POPE Francis made an unannounced visit to an orphanage minutes after he celebrated Mass in the Manila Cathedral Friday as government officials denied a report in a British tabloid that they were hiding away street children during the papal visit.

Fr. Matthieu Dauchez, director of the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation, said Vatican security advised him that Pope Francis would visit with more than 270 orphans along General Luna Street five minutes before the Mass ended.

“So when he arrived, the first thing he did was really to embrace these children and when I welcomed him here, I saw on his face that he was already tired. (But) when he saw all the children inside, you know his face was full of joy because of these children and this is very meaningful because it means that not only the pope is bringing hope to the children, but he is really drawing hope from the children and this is the greatest lesson, not only to help (other) people but also to really receive lessons from the poor and it was...so wonderful,” Dauchez said.

He said Pope Francis was accompanied by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

Pope Francis told the children not to forget that Jesus loves them.

Immediately after the Mass, the Pope went out the back of the cathedral away from the waiting media.

Dauchez said the Pope bonded with the kids for 15-minutes but it seems like their moment with the pontiff was just a split second.

The Pope took time to kiss and hug some 40 to 50 children, who embraced him.

A 10-year-old orphan, Adrian Atis, worked up the courage to talk to the Pope, saying in Filipino “Thank you for giving hope in our lives.”

Dauchez said he and some of the children cried during their brief but meaningful encounter with the Pope.

In November 2014, when Tagle visited Rome to discuss with Vatican officials preparations for the Pope’s visit, he brought a special video and letters from the “unloved” Filipino children of the streets for the pontiff to see.

The videos and letters from the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation or ANAK-Tnk was a request for the Pope’s “little attention,” inviting him to drop by and visit them.


Alvin Atis in Manila was thrilled to meet the pope on Friday. Pope Francis was in the city as part as a five-day visit to the Philippines. On seeing the pontiff enter the shelter, 10-year-old Alvin Atis could not contain his excitement and rushed to greet him with a hug. "I have never met such a kind pope," he said. "I am so happy." Another child, 6-year-old Sheryl Caparas, was still brimming with excitement hours after the pope left. "He told us that if we are happy, we are happy," she told NBC News. COURTESY OF NBC NEWS

Dauchez said they never expected that the Pope would visit the kids since he never heard back from the Vatican.

ANAK-Tnk has 24 centers all over Metro Manila, caring for over 1,000 street children, scavengers, and orphans. Kids range from 18 months to 22 years old.

The orphanage was founded in 1998 by a Jesuit priest, he said.

Asked about the Daily Mail report that street children were being rounded up, Dauchez said if this was true, it was contrary to the what the Pope wanted.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, however, said the Daily Mail report was not true.

Roxas said that the national police, which he heads, is not part of the issue and said trying to verify the story was “like chasing a shadow,” implying that it had been manufactured.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said street children were actually encouraged to be part of the papal festivities.

She added that 440 children, who were earlier turned over to DSWD head quarters, were part of the send-off for Pope Francis on Jan. 19.

Soliman said that the children have been rehearsing a song to present to the pontiff for several days.


MANILA STANDARD

PH National Defense spokesman lauded the Filipino people for 'goodness", conduct and coopeation By MST News | Jan. 18, 2015 at 12:01am


People surge. About 200,000 people from various parts of Eastern Visayas wait in
the rain for the start of the mass, presided by Pope Francis, at the Daniel Z.
Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City on Saturday. MEL CASPE

ONE of the blessings of Pope Francis’ visit to the country is not only the apparent distraction of criminals from their usual illegal activities, but the generally cooperative and good behavior of Filipinos, according to authorities.

“We wish to thank our countrymen for their cooperation in warmly welcoming his Holiness and appeal again for the same gesture, conduct, and cooperation for the next (few) days,” said Department of National Defense spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez said.

Galvez said no untoward incidents were recorded during the arrival of Pope Francis in Villamor Air Base on Thursday, visit and courtesy call at Malacanang, Mass at the Manila Cathedral and Meeting with the Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.

The Philippine National Police also called a press conference on Friday to report that the crime rate in Metro Manila has been virtually zero since the pope’s arrival, according to acting national police chief Director General Leonardo Espina.

“Before the Pope’s arrival, I instructed our people to closely monitor the whole (National Capital Region) and up to now (Friday) there has been no report [of any crime],” Espina said.

But with two more important papal engagements at the University of Santo Tomas and the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday, the government continued to appeal for continued cooperation for the safety of the pope.

“Our government continues to make intensive preparations for the public event at the Quirino Grandstand to ensure peace and order during the mass” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview Saturday.


Pope Francis (right), in a rain poncho, attends during a Mass near Tacloban airport today. Storms greeted Francis when he arrived in the central Philippines city of Tacloban today to pray for the dead and comfort survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, the country's worst natural disaster that killed 6,300 people barely a year ago. – Reuters pic, January 17, 2015.

Valte appealed to the public to cooperate and comply with the directives of the authorities, particularly appealing that Maria Orosa Street, the entrance to the mass at the Quirino Grandstand, should remain clear on Sunday.

“We are appealing to people not to bring umbrellas and wear raincoats instead. Let us use transparent bags to facilitate entry into the grounds. The Philippine National Police also has other reminders,” she said.

“We continue to hope for everyone’s cooperation and we have seen what our self-discipline can do in the past two days, Valte noted.

Pope Francis is meeting young people at the University of Sto. Tomas tomorrow morning before celebrating a large mass in the afternoon. President Aquino, whose mother is a devout Catholic, is expected to attend the gathering.

Authorities expect the number of attendees for the Sunday’s mass to surpass the 1995 record when Pope John Paul II led the World Youth Day and celebrated mass with around five million people.

Organizers want to contain the people inside grids at the venue, to make the crowd more controllable. They also deployed portalets, policemen and paramedics to tend to any emergencies and maintain order.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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