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IN PHOTOS: POPE FRANCIS AND WHY FILIPINOS LOVE HIM


Bad weather didn’t stop Pope Francis’ supporters who showed up at the Quirino Grandstand and Luneta park. The crowd stood rigid against the cold wind and freezing rain, but remained where they were—all for a glimpse and a blessing from the People’s Pope. Photos by philstar.com / RP Ocampo MANILA, JANUARY 19, 2015 (PHILSTAR) It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Mass headed by the pope himself, so for many Filipinos, even freezing rains won’t stop them from not attending. In Pope Francis’ case, it’s not just that. It’s his appealingly bright personality that makes people want to be with him regardless of any situation. The people in the pictures below may look somber but hearing the pope’s words of encouragement and lessons lit new fires on their hearts. It’s small wonder that Francis is called “The People’s Pope.” He does his best to reach out, to touch, and make a personal connection to every person he can possibly gather around him. VIEW PHOTOS...

ALSO: Record 6 million turn out for pope's final day in Manila


Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives at Quirino Grandstand to celebrate his final Papal 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 Photo/Ron Soliman) MANILA — A crowd estimated at a record 6 million people by officials poured into Manila's rain-soaked streets and its biggest park yesterday as Pope Francis ended his Asian pilgrimage with an appeal for Filipinos to protect their young from sin and vice so they can instead become missionaries of the faith. The crowd estimate, which could not be independently verified, included people who attended the pope's final Mass in Rizal Park and surrounding areas, and lined his motorcade route, said the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Francis Tolentino. READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) Francis: Protect your identity as God’s children


A steady rain could not keep a crowd of millions from attending the mass of Pope Francis at the Quirino Grandstand yesterday, where the pontiff reminded the faithful to embrace their identity as God’s children. It is a special joy for me to celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Niño with you, Pope Francis said in his homily where he drew a parallel illustration, urging the Filipinos to always remember that they are children of God. The Christ-child, Francis said, is a constant reminder for Christians to embrace their identity as “God’s children.”  Pope Francis celebrated mass with millions of singing and cheering Catholics in what AFP called “one of the world’s biggest outpourings of papal devotion.”  READ FULL REPORT...

‘Each child is a gift’


Thrilling: Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to celebrate mass at Rizal Park in what could be the world’s biggest papal gatherings. AFP PHOTO --Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to Filipinos to protect “the unity and beauty of our human family,” reminding the faithful that each child is a gift that should be cherished. In his homily at the historic Mass at Luneta (Rizal Park in Manila), the pontiff told a crowd of around six million people to hold on to their identity “as God’s adopted children.” “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,” Francis said. His message carried a more poignant meaning because Sunday was the feast day of the Santo Nino or Child Jesus. The Pope said the Filipinos’ devotion to the Santo Nino should prompt them to spread the word of Christ.READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) Francis: Save the poor


Vicar of Christ. Pope Francis leads a mass for Catholic clergymen and
leaders of religious congregations at the Manila Cathedral on the
second day of his visit to the Philippines. AFP
LIVING up to his sobriquet as “the people’s pope,” Pope Francis made another pitch for the poor and the protection of families on Friday as he urged government officials and church workers to reject materialism and live “the poverty of Christ.”  Helping the poor and “scandalous inequalities” were the common themes of the pope’s speeches at Malacañan Palace where he was given a state welcome, the Manila Cathedral where he said mass with priests and nuns and at the Mall of Asia where he met with Filipino families.  “It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good,” the 78-year-old pontiff said after state ceremonies at the Palace grounds. READ FULL REPORT...

‘Amang’ weakens further, calmer weather possible on Pope’s departure


AMID TYPHOON AMANG IN PALO, LEYTE --PHOTO COURTESY OF RAPPLER.COM  After crossing Camarines Norte and now over Lamon Bay, tropical storm “Amang” has further weakened due to interaction in landmass and also with the presence of northeast monsoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) yesterday said. In an interview, Pagasa weather forecaster Alvin Pura said the tropical storm has made three landfall first in Dolores, Eastern Samar on Saturday around 3 p.m., second landfall in Sorsogon at 5 a.m. on Sunday and third in Camarines Sur around 8:30 a.m.
He added the maximum sustained wind of Amang has decreased from 75 kilometers per hour on Sunday morning to 65 kph in the afternoon while its gustiness also lowered from 90 kph to 80 kph. Pura explained due to a series of landfalls and also with the presence of strong winds of northeast monsoon, Amang headed toward Northern Luzon which has been interacting with the circulation of the cyclone, reducing its intensity.
He also said Amang will continue to weaken as it headed toward Northern Luzon and expected to dissipate due to the presence of strong northeast monsoon. READ FULL REPORT...

Pope Francis to return next year?


MANILA - The Filipino people may just be reunited next year with Francis, the "People's Pope."  Pope Francis is set to depart for Rome Monday, ending his 5-day state and apostolic visit in the Philippines but may just come back in a year’s time if he accedes to the invitation to grace the next Eucharistic Congress set to take place in Cebu in January 2016. “Will the pope come again? We hope. The Episcopal Council has invited him. Let us see,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said during the regular nightly papal visit news conference on Sunday night. Pope Francis is greatly touched by the Filipinos’ resilience, display of faith, and their warm reception of him, Tagle added. The Manila archbishop told journalists that Filipinos will work together towards a mission of evangelization that shall go beyond its borders. “You don’t use it only for your own advantage, you share it with others,” Tagle said. He also stressed the big role Filipino overseas workers play in achieving this mission, as they spread the good word of evangelization to citizens of other countries.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

IN PHOTOS: Pope Francis and why Filipinos love him


Bad weather didn’t stop Pope Francis’ supporters who showed up at the Quirino Grandstand and Luneta park. The crowd stood rigid against the cold wind and freezing rain, but remained where they were—all for a glimpse and a blessing from the People’s Pope. Photos by philstar.com / RP Ocampo

MANILA, JANUARY 19, 2015
(PHILSTAR) It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Mass headed by the pope himself, so for many Filipinos, even freezing rains won’t stop them from not attending. In Pope Francis’ case, it’s not just that.

It’s his appealingly bright personality that makes people want to be with him regardless of any situation. The people in the pictures below may look somber but hearing the pope’s words of encouragement and lessons lit new fires on their hearts.

It’s small wonder that Francis is called “The People’s Pope.”

He does his best to reach out, to touch, and make a personal connection to every person he can possibly gather around him.


PHILSTAR

Record 6 million turn out for pope's final day in Manila By Nicole Winfield and Teresa Cerojano (Associated Press) | Updated January 19, 2015 - 7:06am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives at Quirino Grandstand to celebrate his final Papal 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 Photo/Ron Soliman)

MANILA — A crowd estimated at a record 6 million people by officials poured into Manila's rain-soaked streets and its biggest park yesterday as Pope Francis ended his Asian pilgrimage with an appeal for Filipinos to protect their young from sin and vice so they can instead become missionaries of the faith.

The crowd estimate, which could not be independently verified, included people who attended the pope's final Mass in Rizal Park and surrounding areas, and lined his motorcade route, said the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Francis Tolentino.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican had received the figure officially from local authorities and that it was a record, surpassing the 5 million who turned out for St. John Paul II's final Mass in the same park in 1995.

Francis dedicated the final homily of his weeklong Asia trip, which began in Sri Lanka, to children, given that the Mass fell on an important feast day honoring the infant Jesus. His focus was a reflection of the importance that the Vatican places on Asia as the future of the church since it's one of the few places where Catholic numbers are growing — and on the Philippines as the largest Catholic nation in the region.

"We need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected," Francis said in his homily. "And we need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to a life on the streets."

Francis made a triumphant entry into Rizal Park, riding on a popemobile based on the design of a jeepney, the modified US Army World War II jeep that is a common means of public transport here. He wore the same cheap, plastic yellow rain poncho handed out to the masses during his visit to the typhoon-hit eastern city of Tacloban a day earlier.

The crowd — a sea of humanity in colorful rain ponchos spread out across the 60 hectares (148 acres) of parkland and boulevards surrounding it — erupted in shrieks of joy when he drove by, a reflection of the incredible resonance Francis' message about caring for society's most marginal has had in a country where about a quarter of its 100 million people lives in poverty.

"It was a blessing that we saw him. Even if we were soaked by the rain, we feel fine," said Emmie Toreras, 38, who was wearing a garbage bag to guard against the rain. She said she had slept in the park since Friday to score a view of the pope.

"He loves the poor and people like us," said Toreras, whose husband, a rags vendor, stayed home to work.

Francis dedicated his four-day trip to the Philippines to the poor and marginal. He denounced the corruption that has robbed them of a dignified life, visited with street children and traveled to Tacloban to offer prayers for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, the deadly 2013 storm that devastated one of the Philippines' poorest regions.

Earlier yesterday, Francis drew a huge crowd to Manila's Catholic university, where he came close to tears himself hearing two rescued street children speak of their lives growing up poor and abandoned.

The pope ditched his prepared remarks and spoke off the cuff in his native Spanish to respond to 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar, who wept as she asked Francis why children suffer so much. Palomar, a former street child rescued by a church-run foundation, told him of children who are abandoned or neglected by their parents and end up on the streets using drugs or in prostitution.

"Why is God allowing something like this to happen, even to innocent children?" Palomar asked through tears. "And why are there so few who are helping us?"

A visibly moved Francis said he had no answer. "Only when we are able to cry are we able to come close to responding to your question," he said.

"Those on the margins cry. Those who have fallen by the wayside cry. Those who are discarded cry," the pope said. "But those who are living a life that is more or less without need, we don't know how to cry."

And he added: "There are some realities that you can only see through eyes that have been cleansed by tears."

A steady rain from the same tropical storm that forced Francis to cut short his visit to Tacloban on Saturday fell on the crowd, but it didn't seem to dampen spirits of Filipinos who streamed into the capital for his final day.

In his homily, Francis urged the crowd to protect their children from sin, alcohol and gambling, saying the devil "distracts us with the promise of ephemeral pleasures, superficial pastimes."

"Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia," he said.

Bracing for huge crowds, the government put out a public service announcement warning the elderly, pregnant women and children against coming to the event. They urged the crowd to carry their things in transparent plastic bags since they'd be easier to inspect. An appeal to use raincoats rather than umbrellas went unheeded.

Rommel Monton, a 28-year-old call center agent, said he was struck by Francis' willingness to practice what he preaches, particularly as it concerns the poor.

"He doesn't want to be treated as someone special. Look at his vehicles, they are not bullet-proof: He wanted them to be open so that he can feel he is close to the people," he said. "How will you be able to protect your followers if you are not with them, if you are afraid to show yourself, to stand behind them or stand before them?"

Francis sought to stand with one Filipino family struck by tragedy during his visit: He spent 20 minutes yesterday meeting with the father of Kristel Padasas, a volunteer with Catholic Relief Services, who died Saturday in Tacloban when scaffolding fell on her. Witnesses said a sudden gust of wind toppled the structure, which had served as a platform for a large loudspeaker during the Mass.

The father was overwhelmed by the loss but was "consoled thinking that she had helped prepare the meeting of the people with the pope," said Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.


MANILA BULLETIN

Francis: Protect your identity as God’s children by Hannah L. Torregoza, Aaron B. Recuenco & AFP January 19, 2015 Share this:


Pope stops to kiss a little boy near the Quirino Grandstand on the day the country also celebrated the Feast of the Sto. Niño. (Rudy Liwanag/Pinggot Zulueta/Linus Guardian Escandor III/Canon)

A steady rain could not keep a crowd of millions from attending the mass of Pope Francis at the Quirino Grandstand yesterday, where the pontiff reminded the faithful to embrace their identity as God’s children.

It is a special joy for me to celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Niño with you, Pope Francis said in his homily where he drew a parallel illustration, urging the Filipinos to always remember that they are children of God.

The Christ-child, Francis said, is a constant reminder for Christians to embrace their identity as “God’s children.”

Pope Francis celebrated mass with millions of singing and cheering Catholics in what AFP called “one of the world’s biggest outpourings of papal devotion.”

Rain fell steadily in Manila in the hours before the mass but Filipinos are famous for a passionate brand of Catholicism and they turned out in a joyous mood that defied the gloomy skies.

Wearing a disposable yellow raincoat, the Pope travelled along a motorcade route in a “popemobile” styled after the Philippines’ iconic minibuses known as jeepneys. He waved and smiled to cheering crowds that were 20-deep. The popemobile stopped repeatedly so he could lean over barriers and kiss babies.

CHILDREN OF GOD

“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,” Pope Francis said before the mammoth crowd.

“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,” he said.

The Pope was referring to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 2013. Last Saturday, he visited Tacloban and Palo, Leyte to console survivors of the disaster.

BE MISSIONARIES

Francis noted that the culture of Sto. Niño is tied closely to the history of Christianity in the Philippines. Likewise, he said, it serves as a reminder for Filipino Christians to fulfill their obligation to be outstanding missionaries in Asia and other countries.

“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 said.

“The Santo Niño also reminds us of our call to spread the reign of Christ throughout the world,” he said.

Now at the end of my visit, I commend you to him… May the Sto. Nino continue to bless the Philippines,” he said.

Many pilgrims in the crowd had brought their statues of the Sto. Niño.

Yesterday, the Feast of the Sto. Niño was celebrated in Kalibo, Aklan, in Cebu and other places in the country.

The Papal mass was held after Pope Francis “Encounter with the Youth” held Sunday morning at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST).

BASTION IN ASIA

The Philippines is the Catholic Church’s bastion in Asia, with 80 percent of the former Spanish colony followers of the faith, and he is a revered figure.

“We are devotees of the pope,” Bernie Nacario, 53, told AFP as he stood amid a mass of people with his wife and two young children near Rizal Park ahead of the mass.

“The pope is an instrument of the Lord and if you are able to communicate with him, it is just like talking to God himself.”

As groups of friends sang nearby and others burst into spontaneous cheers, Nacario said he was a long-time arthritis sufferer but today his pain had disappeared.

“It is as if the Lord has cured my ailment.”

‘SEA OF FAITH’

Philippine authorities have undertaken one of their biggest-ever security operations to protect the pope, with nearly 40,000 soldiers and police deployed for Sunday’s event.

“This is a sea of faith we are dealing with,” acting national chief Leonardo Espina told reporters.

And not everything has gone according to plan.

WAITING FOR THE POPE

A steady rain could not keep the hundreds of thousands to start converging at the Luneta more than 24 hours before Pope Francis would celebrate mass, the final event in his five-day pastoral visit to the Philippines. They came to hear the pontiff’s message of hope and consolation for the poor, and reminders of the Faithful’s duty to help.

The sheer volume of pilgrims hoping to get the best spots to see –and perhaps touch his hand – at the Quirino Grandstand mass compelled the Philippine National Police (PNP) to open the gates two hours earlier than scheduled.

Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, PNP officer-in-charge, admitted that such a move deviated from the original plan to have people’s belongings inspected before entering the barricaded area of the Quirino Grandstand.

CROWD ESTIMATES

Crowd estimates on the final meeting with the Pope will likely vary. Although the police expect the quadrants to be occupied by some 750,000 pilgrims, the crowds that stood outside defied crowd estimates.

Organizers expect as many as six million people at his final afternoon Mass, surpassing the five million record set by St. John Paul II at the same Rizal Park in 1995.

Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), said the crowd reached 3 million as of 1 p.m. yesterday, including those who had entered the gates leading to several quadrants and people along the papal route.

The Quirino Grandstand accommodated 1.1 million individuals as the gates closed by 2:30 pm, the MMDA said.

Espina said they are yet to come up with crowd estimates but said their contingency is for millions of people.

POCKETS OF DISORDER

But it was the desire of some of the devotees to occupy the front portion of the quadrants that started the pockets of disorder that occurred in front of the main entrance on Orosa Avenue early yesterday.

The Red Cross reported at least 10 persons, mostly children and the elderly, were injured as the crowd started muscling their way through the barricades placed at the Maria Orosa entrance.

To prevent the situation from turning worse, the PNP leadership led by Director Carmelo Valmoria, head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), decided to allow them to go inside earlier than scheduled.

From the original 30 entrances at the Orosa Avenue, the number was increased to 75 as of yesterday morning, according to Espina.

ON HIS WAY TO LUNETA

The MMDA said Roxas Boulevard, from Quirino to Pedro Gil to Kalaw, gathered the most number of people, that totaled 470,000 individuals; 340,000 lined up along Burgos Street; 310,000 people along Kalaw, 180,000 along Quirino, 50,000 along the United National Avenue.

Pope Francis entered the Quirino Grandstand grounds at about 2:43 p.m. He was greeted with shouts of “Papa Francisco” and a lively Sinulog dance.

People also brought images of the Santo Niño that Pope Francis blessed.

THE ROUTE

During the 1995 visit of Pope John Paul II, the pontiff had to be airlifted to and from the Quirino Grandstand due to the millions of people that occupied every space around the Quirino Grandstand.

But Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said the early preparations allowed the land transport of Pope Francis from the Apostolic Nunciature to the Quirino Grandstand, allowing the pilgrims to see him.

“The present arrangements of having quadrants would also pave the way for more people to have the opportunity to be closer to the Pope,” said Roxas.

It was recalled that the original plan for Pope John Paul II to have a motorcade in front of the Quirino Grandstand did not materialize in 1995 as there was no more space for the Popemobile.

ASIA’S IMPORTANCE

The Pope’s five-day visit to the Philippines, which began on Thursday, followed two days in Sri Lanka.

It is his second trip to Asia in five months, in a nod to the region’s growing importance to the Catholic Church as it faces declining support in Europe and the United States.

It is also the fourth papal visit to the Philippines, where rapturous receptions have cemented the nation’s status as the Church’s Asian role model. (With reports from Leonard Postrado, Anna Liza Villas Alavaren, Czarina Nicole Ong, AP)


MANILA TIMES

‘Each child is a gift’ January 18, 2015 10:28 pm by CATHERINE S. VALENTE REPORTER


Thrilling: Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to celebrate mass at Rizal Park in what could be the world’s biggest papal gatherings. AFP PHOTO


Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to Filipinos to protect “the unity and beauty of our human family,” reminding the faithful that each child is a gift that should be cherished.

In his homily at the historic Mass at Luneta (Rizal Park in Manila), the pontiff told a crowd of around six million people to hold on to their identity “as God’s adopted children.”

“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,” Francis said.

His message carried a more poignant meaning because Sunday was the feast day of the Santo Nino or Child Jesus.

The Pope said the Filipinos’ devotion to the Santo Nino should prompt them to spread the word of Christ.

“Just like the Child Jesus needed to be protected by his earthly father, Saint Joseph, from King Herod, so do children, and families, need to be protected,” the Holy Father added.

“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,” he said.

He, however, noted that the family is threatened by corruption and ignorance.


Pope Francis talks to a child drenched by the rain after celebrating mass. AFP PHOTO

“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,” the Pope said.

These threats include “social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.”
Pope Francis observed that when faced with “troubles, difficulties and wrongs,” the faithful may be “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 own money on gambling and drink; we turn in on ourselves,” he said.

But according to the Pope, Filipinos should always remember that they are “children of God.”

“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. 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 blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia,” he said.

Pope Francis commended Filipinos for showing the world their unshakeable faith and compassion in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

“We saw a beautiful expression of this when Filipinos rallied around our brothers and sisters affected by the typhoon,” he said.


MANILA STANDARD

Francis: Save the poor By Joyce Pangco Panares, Sara Susanne D. Fabunan and Joel E. Zurbano | Jan. 17, 2015 at 12:01am

Pope advises flock to seek common good


Vicar of Christ. Pope Francis leads a mass for Catholic clergymen and
leaders of religious congregations at the Manila Cathedral on the
second day of his visit to the Philippines. AFP

LIVING up to his sobriquet as “the people’s pope,” Pope Francis made another pitch for the poor and the protection of families on Friday as he urged government officials and church workers to reject materialism and live “the poverty of Christ.”

Helping the poor and “scandalous inequalities” were the common themes of the pope’s speeches at Malacañan Palace where he was given a state welcome, the Manila Cathedral where he said mass with priests and nuns and at the Mall of Asia where he met with Filipino families.

“It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good,” the 78-year-old pontiff said after state ceremonies at the Palace grounds.

“(The great biblical tradition) bids us to break the bonds of injustice and oppression, which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures, which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart,” he said.

The pope stressed that his visit was mainly pastoral and was his way of condoling with the victims of Typhoon Yolanda and encouraging the millions of Filipino workers overseas who make “real contributions to the life and welfare of the societies in which they live.”

He delivered a similar message during his second engagement when he celebrated his first papal mass in the country before 2,000 priests and nuns at the Manila Cathedral.

The pope used a small dark blue sedan to go to the Palace for the state ceremonies and the streets were again lined with screaming Filipino Catholics, who waited for hours to get a quick glimpse of the 78-year-old pontiff, as they did on his arrival on Thursday.

But from the Palace, Francis used the pope mobile and again passed through streets lined with people shouting “We love you, Pope Francis” and “Mabuhay Lolo Kiko [Long live Grandpa Francis].”

Although the papal mass at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros was meant exclusively for the clergy and religious, the pope was greeted by a large crowd, which police estimated at 12,000, at the Plaza di Roma in front of the cathedral.

“My sacrifice was worth it. I feel happy. I feel blessed,” Nanette Hermano, 56, told AFP as she cried after taking a smartphone picture of the pope outside the cathedral.

“I’ve been here since 3:00 am, but I don’t feel tired, I don’t feel hungry. It’s like a miracle.”

During the pontifical mass, which included elderly priests and nuns in wheelchairs as well as young seminarians, Francis urged his audience to live the poverty of Christ and do away with complacency.


Gadgets galore. Priests take pictures of Pope Francis as he arrives to celebrate mass at the Manila Cathedral.

“Do you love me?” he asked during his homily and the church men and women before him replied with a resounding “Yes.” “Tend my sheep,” the pope added, repeating the words of Jesus in the day’s gospel.

“All pastoral ministry is born of love,” the pope reminded his audience.

“The great danger is a certain materialism which can creep into our lives and compromise the witness we offer. Only by becoming poor ourselves, by stripping away our complacency, will we be able to identify with the least of our brothers and sisters,” he said.

“We will see things in a new light and thus respond with honesty and integrity to the challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society which has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarization and scandalous inequality,” he added.

He also urged Catholic leaders in the Philippines to resist powerful forces that are tempting youth with “confusing” versions of sexuality, marriage and the family.

The pope urged them to counsel young people, who may be confused and despondent living in a corrupt society, on traditional values.

“Proclaim the beauty and truth of the Christian message to a society which is tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family,” Francis said.

“As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.”

He repeated the message at the Mall of Asia, which has a capacity of 20,000 people, where he again celebrated mass before Filipino families, but there were thousands more outside the arena and the route where his pope-mobile passed.

The pope noted that there may be many pressures on family life.

“Our world needs good and strong families to overcome these threats! The Philippines needs holy and loving families to protect the beauty and truth of the family in God’s plan and to be a support and example for other families. Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself,” he said.

“Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them! Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care. Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death,” he added.

“While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality,” he said.

“The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life,” he added.


TRIBUNE

‘Amang’ weakens further, calmer weather possible on Pope’s departure
Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 19 January 2015 00:00 f


TYPHOON AMANG IN PALO,, LEYTE --FROM RAPPLER.COM

After crossing Camarines Norte and now over Lamon Bay, tropical storm “Amang” has further weakened due to interaction in landmass and also with the presence of northeast monsoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) yesterday said.

In an interview, Pagasa weather forecaster Alvin Pura said the tropical storm has made three landfall first in Dolores, Eastern Samar on Saturday around 3 p.m., second landfall in Sorsogon at 5 a.m. on Sunday and third in Camarines Sur around 8:30 a.m.

He added the maximum sustained wind of Amang has decreased from 75 kilometers per hour on Sunday morning to 65 kph in the afternoon while its gustiness also lowered from 90 kph to 80 kph.
Pura explained due to a series of landfalls and also with the presence of strong winds of northeast monsoon, Amang headed toward Northern Luzon which has been interacting with the circulation of the cyclone, reducing its intensity.

He also said Amang will continue to weaken as it headed toward Northern Luzon and expected to dissipate due to the presence of strong northeast monsoon.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, Amang was located at 35 km north northwest of Daet, Camarines Norte. It is forecast to move north northwest at 16 kph.

Amang is forecast to be at 170 km east of Tuguegarao City by Monday afternoon.

In the next 24 hours forecast, Pagasa said the provinces of Camarines Norte, Aurora and Northern Quezon including Polillo Island will be stormy with rough to very rough seas.

Metro Manila, rest of Calabarzon and the provinces of Camarines Sur, Quirino, Isabela, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Marinduque will have rains with gusty winds with moderate to rough seas.

Ilocos Region, Cordillera and the rest of Cagayan Valley, of Central Luzon and of Bicol Region and the provinces of Romblon and Mindoro will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rains while the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies. Thunderstorms are likely to occur over these areas.

It added moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast to northwest will prevail over the rest of Luzon and northwest to southwest over the rest of the country with moderate to rough seas.
Authorities, meanwhile, expect no gustiness in Metro Manila today when Pope Francis is scheduled to return to Rome from his maiden visit to the country.

Pope Francis concluded his official engagements in the Philippines on Sunday afternoon by celebrating mass at Metro Manila’s Rizal Park.
Mario J. Mallari and PNA


ABS-CBN

Pope Francis to return next year? by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News Posted at 01/18/2015 10:17 PM

MANILA - The Filipino people may just be reunited next year with Francis, the "People's Pope."

Pope Francis is set to depart for Rome Monday, ending his 5-day state and apostolic visit in the Philippines but may just come back in a year’s time if he accedes to the invitation to grace the next Eucharistic Congress set to take place in Cebu in January 2016.

“Will the pope come again? We hope. The Episcopal Council has invited him. Let us see,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said during the regular nightly papal visit news conference on Sunday night.

Pope Francis is greatly touched by the Filipinos’ resilience, display of faith, and their warm reception of him, Tagle added.

The Manila archbishop told journalists that Filipinos will work together towards a mission of evangelization that shall go beyond its borders.

“You don’t use it only for your own advantage, you share it with others,” Tagle said.

He also stressed the big role Filipino overseas workers play in achieving this mission, as they spread the good word of evangelization to citizens of other countries.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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