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ROUSING SENDOFF: THANK YOU, COME BACK!  HASTA LA VISTA


HASTA LA VISTA: Children were among those who gave the pontiff a rousing sendoff. EDD GUMBAN MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos gave Pope Francis an emotional send-off yesterday, with local Church officials expressing the nation’s deep gratitude for his presence and urging him to return – this time for the 51st Eucharistic Congress in Cebu next year. Thousands of Filipinos including street children bade Pope Francis a tearful goodbye, from the time his convoy left the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue to the moment the aircraft carrying him was barely visible and some 100 kilometers into its 14-hour journey back to Rome. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pray for me, pope tweets on ‘Shepherd One’


As he flew back to the Vatican, Pope Francis asked the citizens of the countries he had just visited – Sri Lanka and the Philippines – to pray for him. While on “Shepherd One” – Philippine Airlines’ special direct flight to Rome – Pope Francis sent out a tweet in two languages on his @Pontifex account at around 3 p.m. yesterday. The first tweet was in English: “To my friends in Sri Lanka and the Philippines: May God bless you all! Please pray for me.”  He also sent the same tweet in Tagalog: “Sa aking mga kaibigan sa Sri Lanka at Pilipinas: Naway pagpalain kayo ng Diyos. Sana’y patuloy niyo akong ipagdasal.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: Papal Nuncio hails best hospitality, collaboration


The ambassador of the Holy See relayed yesterday the pope’s message of thanks to President Aquino, the government, all sectors and the Filipino people for giving the pontiff a rapturous reception wherever he went. Speaking to reporters after the sendoff at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Pinto narrated that Francis repeatedly said “thank you,” and that the Vatican was grateful for the cooperation from the national and local governments. “They received the best hospitality everywhere they went,” Pinto said. “We received the best and widest collaboration. At the same time, I would say thanks in the name of the authorities from the Vatican among them Cardinal Secretary of State (Pietro) Parolin and the others who accompanied the Holy Father.”  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Pope Francis ‘very very happy’ with his PH visit - Noy


Pope Francis, center right, walks beside Philippine President Benigno Aquino III before boarding his plane as he departs Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. AP MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis was “very very happy” with the warmth of Filipinos during his five-day visit to the Philippines, which concluded on Monday, President Benigno Aquino III said. “So tuwang-tuwa siya doon sa hospitality na ipinakita. Damang-dama daw niya yung warmth (He was very happy for the hospitality shown to him. He said he felt the warmth [deeply]),” Aquino said in an ambush interview with reporters after leading the send-off for Pope Francis at Villamor Air Base. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: In latest interview, Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis' secret recipe for happiness. In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life: 1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."  Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead a general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican last month. (CNS/Paul Haring) 2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid." 3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist -- gaucho Don Segundo Sombra -- looks back on how he lived his life. CONTINUE READING FROM NO.3 ---

ALSO Pope to PH: Evangelizing Asia is your mission


Pope Francis delivers his blessing during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Pope Francis is praising big families after saying Catholics don’t have to breed “like rabbits.” He says big families are a gift and don’t cause poverty in the developing world, and that the real cause of poverty is an unjust economic system that idolizes money over people. AP PHOTO/ANDREW MEDICHINI
VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis told hundreds of pilgrims from all over the world attending his regular Wednesday audience that it was the Philippines’ mission to evangelize the “great continent of Asia.”  He also praised the “large families” in the Philippines, calling them a “gift from God.”  The remark apparently was to clarify the statements he made during a press conference aboard the plane taking him back to Rome after his highly successful visit to the Philippines from Jan. 15 to 19 that Catholics “should not breed like rabbits.”  His unusually frank language raised negative reactions, particularly on social media, where some commentators said it was offensive to people who were raised in large families. READ FULL REPORT...

PAL's gifts to Pope
Francis likes ‘dinuguan’


GIFT FOR THE POPE Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista presented Pope Francis with a framed copy of the front page of the Inquirer’s Jan. 15 issue during the Pontiff’s flight back to Rome on Monday. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ As he flew home to Rome from Manila on Monday, Pope Francis received a framed copy of the front page of the Inquirer Jan. 15 issue as a gift from the president of Philippine Airlines (PAL). “I handed to him a front page copy of the Inquirer on Jan. 15. And he really liked it,” Jaime Bautista, president and chief operating officer of PAL, said yesterday at a news conference with the men and women who served on the PAL flights of Pope Francis from Manila to Tacloban City and back last Saturday and from Manila to Rome on Monday. The Jan. 15 issue of the Inquirer showed a full-body picture of Pope Francis beaming and waving under the banner headline “Mabuhay, Papa Francis!”  READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘Thank you, come back’ HASTA LA VISTA!


HASTA LA VISTA: Children were among those who gave the pontiff a rousing sendoff. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, JANUARY 20, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Pia Lee-Brago and Christina Mendez - Filipinos gave Pope Francis an emotional send-off yesterday, with local Church officials expressing the nation’s deep gratitude for his presence and urging him to return – this time for the 51st Eucharistic Congress in Cebu next year.

Thousands of Filipinos including street children bade Pope Francis a tearful goodbye, from the time his convoy left the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue to the moment the aircraft carrying him was barely visible and some 100 kilometers into its 14-hour journey back to Rome.

“Will the pope come again? We hope. The Episcopal Council has invited him. Let us see,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Sunday during the regular nightly press conference for the papal visit. The Eucharistic Congress, held every four years, was last hosted by Ireland.

Tagle said he would follow up the invitation on the Eucharistic Congress when Philippine cardinals go to Rome next month.

“If he’s coming, wow! Thanks,” Tagle said in a press conference yesterday at Villamor Air Base shortly after the Philippine Airlines plane carrying Francis and his entourage had left.

Tagle said the international congress would be held from Jan. 24 to 31 with some 15,000 delegates expected to attend.

On Sunday, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the Philippines, the foremost Catholic country in Asia, is a gift of God and blessing to Asia and to the world.

“Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of faith in Asia. The Philippines, a major Catholic nation in Asia, has vocation for evangelization of Asia,” Lombardi said.

Thousands of Filipinos lined the streets of Manila to catch a final glimpse of the pope as he went to the airport.

Before boarding the plane yesterday, the pope told Tagle, “See you in Rome in February.”

The mass officiated by Francis in Rizal Park last Sunday reportedly drew six to seven million people, the largest crowd ever to attend a papal event.

Tearful sendoff


PHOTO FROM THE INQUIRER

When the gates of the Apostolic Nunciature opened at around 9 a.m. to let his popemobile out, thousands cheered the pope, waving at him with one hand and capturing the moment on their tablets or mobile phones with the other.

Some chanted “Viva Il Papa,” while others looked in silence and were teary-eyed.

A multitude lined the streets from Quirino Ave. to Roxas Blvd., Andrews Ave. to the Philippine Air Force’s Villamor Air Base.

“We need to have some reflection. I feel I need to go to mass more and live the words of God through the pope,” said a young man, who biked all the way from Quezon City just to bid Francis goodbye.

Juliet Baltazar, 72, said she hopes the Filipinos would practice the “mercy and compassion” message of the papal visit.

Another well-wisher waiting to get a last glimpse of Francis on Roxas Blvd. said the pope’s message was all about love and compassion for the poor.

“He left us not just star struck but also a challenge to reflect on how we should continue with our lives by living for others, spreading love, being loved and loving others,” he said.

A young mother of two said she would always remind her children about their encounter with the pope at the University of Santo Tomas and his message of “giving more to the poor and loving them more.”

For former members of student Catholic group Pax Romana, the encounter at UST felt like a renewal of faith and spiritual bond. “Reconnected. Such a happy encounter,” said Beng Ragon.

Meng Salita, a resident of Cavite City, said on her Facebook account that her joy after the Rizal Park mass was “beyond words.”

“I guess it’s divine intervention that we were able to see the pope and attend the mass, considering the late decision we made (to go to Rizal Park),” she said.

Just like many other Filipinos, Salita and her husband Ric and their youngest son walked from the Film Center to the park amid rain and chilly wind.

“I didn’t know that the teary-eyed experience when one sees the pope was true until I experienced it. Such Pope Magic!” she wrote.

Even as far as Lingayen in Pangasinan, the pope’s message during his homily last Sunday had touched hearts.

Hundreds of Catholics trooped to Lingayen’s Epiphany of Our Lord Parish Church to watch live on a large screen the mass officiated by the pope.

“We strongly felt the presence of the Holy Father even if we were here in Pangasinan,” said Gov. Amado Espino Jr.

Carrying own bag

Pope Francis was carrying his black bag and waving to the crowd, including street children and families of soldiers, as he slowly climbed aboard PAL Flight 001.

The throngs included people in wheelchairs and mothers carrying their children, many hoping for the pontiff to mingle for the last time with the crowd and bless them.

Some 1,000 street children from the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation were still shouting “Francis!” and singing as the papal plane maneuvered to the runway.

“As tradition we will not leave the tarmac until the plane of the pope is already 50 miles away,” an airbase loudspeaker announced.

Before the arrival of the pope, tight security was in place at Villamor Air Base and only those with accredited IDs were allowed entry.

Visitors had to pass through two checkpoints – one at the main gate where the names of visitors were verified and at the Presidential Security Group checkpoint where their IDs issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines were scanned to determine if the bearers’ names and photos matched.

Surprisingly, dozens of Swiss knives and other bladed material were detected and confiscated.

The crowd gradually dispersed after it was announced that the aircraft carrying the pope was already 50 miles away.

“I’m happy that I was able to get near the pope but I am also sad because I missed touching his hand,” an elderly man said.

The rest of the six to seven million people who participated in the pope’s concluding mass on Sunday in Rizal Park may have tuned in to radio or watched his departure on TV.

Gracias, señor

Stories of compassion, mercy and conversion will linger for generations long after Pope Francis’ visit, the CBCP said yesterday.

In its “Statement at Departure of Pope Francis from the Philippines,” the CBCP thanked him in Spanish – his native tongue: “Gracias Señor! Gracias Santo Padre!”

“We will never forget these five days. Our children and their children will never forget these five days, because we will tell them the stories of these five grace-filled days and they will tell them to their children,” CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in the statement.

“Your words in our stories will be imbedded in our and their hearts; a constant reminder of the love of Jesus; a voice pricking our conscience: love the poor, always have hope amidst trials, keep faith in the Lord and pray, always pray,” he said.

“It is the voice of Jesus telling us, I am with you and I will not leave you orphans,” he said.

He recalled that Pope Francis’ voice “pierced through the rains and strong winds” in Tacloban City where he celebrated last Saturday an open-air mass clad in a yellow plastic raincoat just like the close to a million rain-drenched faithful.

“Gracias Santo Padre for your tenderness as you comforted us and reassured us that Jesus will never abandon us,” said Villegas.

Francis earlier said he was prompted by the urge to visit Leyte and comfort the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

“You thanked the Lord for not leaving us orphans amidst desperation, loss, misery and pain. And at that moment we were one with you in your thanksgiving to God. But we were also lifting up our own gratitude to God for sending you to us,” Villegas said.

“We know that you, too, will not leave us orphans. That you will be with us, suffering with us who are poor, aged, sick, disabled, deaf, crippled, abandoned and ignored,” he added.

Warm smile

The Pangasinan prelate also thanked the “people’s pope” for his warm smile that “came from your eyes, penetrating our heart, even our soul.”

Many were also thrilled whenever he would stop his motorcade to touch or kiss a baby or a child.

“How spontaneously did your face brighten at the sight of the young people and the children whom you embraced and carried in your arms,” said Villegas.

During his homilies and preaching, Pope Francis appealed to government officials and the youth to help the poor and the marginalized.

The 78-year-old pontiff had also called on government officials to “reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor.”

Prior to his departure from the Apostolic Nunciature, the pope also bade goodbye and expressed his heartfelt thanks to members of the Aquino Cabinet for making the five-day pastoral and state visit successful.

In the past few days, the pope had also welcomed guests at the nunciature, including a group of Jesuit priests and members of his close-in security team from the PSG, the Philippine National Police and the military.

On Sunday, the pope also met briefly with barangay officials before meeting with the youth at UST. He cited them for their roles in ensuring his safety. With Perseus Echeminada, Jaime Laude, Evelyn Macairan, Cesar Ramirez


PHILSTAR

Pray for me, pope tweets on ‘Shepherd One’ By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - As he flew back to the Vatican, Pope Francis asked the citizens of the countries he had just visited – Sri Lanka and the Philippines – to pray for him.

While on “Shepherd One” – Philippine Airlines’ special direct flight to Rome – Pope Francis sent out a tweet in two languages on his @Pontifex account at around 3 p.m. yesterday.

The first tweet was in English: “To my friends in Sri Lanka and the Philippines: May God bless you all! Please pray for me.”

He also sent the same tweet in Tagalog: “Sa aking mga kaibigan sa Sri Lanka at Pilipinas: Naway pagpalain kayo ng Diyos. Sana’y patuloy niyo akong ipagdasal.”

As of 6:30 p.m. yesterday, the English tweet was retweeted 6,600 times and was picked as a favorite 13,000 times.

Meanwhile, the Tagalog message was retweeted 11,112 times and became a favorite 17,000 times.

Pope thanks gov’t officials

Prior to his departure, Pope Francis met with government officials who worked for the success of his five-day visit to the Philippines, and thanked them for their efforts.

The pope met with Cabinet secretaries Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, acting Health Secretary Janette Garin, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya and PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina at 8 a.m. at the Apostolic Nunciature, his residence during his stay in the country from Jan. 15 to 19.

Most of the Cabinet secretaries also went to Villamor Air Base to see the pope off as he returned to Rome. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe


PHILSTAR

Papal Nuncio hails best hospitality, collaboration By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2015 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The ambassador of the Holy See relayed yesterday the pope’s message of thanks to President Aquino, the government, all sectors and the Filipino people for giving the pontiff a rapturous reception wherever he went.

Speaking to reporters after the sendoff at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Pinto narrated that Francis repeatedly said “thank you,” and that the Vatican was grateful for the cooperation from the national and local governments.

“They received the best hospitality everywhere they went,” Pinto said.

“We received the best and widest collaboration. At the same time, I would say thanks in the name of the authorities from the Vatican among them Cardinal Secretary of State (Pietro) Parolin and the others who accompanied the Holy Father.”

Pinto said Francis was satisfied with the visit.

“So this joy, alegria in Spanish, has been going around and reaching all our hearts,” he said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. thanked the Catholic Church for the opportunity to work and collaborate with it “every step of the way” to ensure the success of the state visit and apostolic journey of the pope.

“We’d also like to thank our friends in media for their hard work, patience and full cooperation in bringing to our people the good news of the papal visit and for enlightening our people on the meaning of every step that he took in this apostolic journey,” he said.

Malacañang said yesterday all Filipinos can give themselves a pat on the back as their unity and cooperation were key to the successful five-day visit of Pope Francis. The visit’s success was a miracle since signal No. 2 was hoisted over Tacloban and Tropical Storm Amang was lashing the city when Francis visited on Saturday, according to Archbishop of Manila Luis Cardinal Antonio Tagle.

Coloma said the estimated six million people at the Quirino Grandstand turned out to be the best protection when Francis celebrated mass last Sunday.

“For us, the biggest factor for the success was the people themselves because they chose to be orderly,” he said.

“All the efforts of government would have been for naught if the Filipinos did not cooperate and if they were not orderly during the mass… following the guidelines on what could be done and what could not be done. So for us, whatever success there is, the author of this success is Juan de la Cruz.”

Soldier in tears

Tagle said everyone was overwhelmed with “thanksgiving and gratitude to God, to our authorities in government, in the Church and the many sectors of society,” and that one of the presidential guards approached him in tears, and thanked him for mentioning the military during the mass at the grandstand.

“‘When we heard you thanking the military, the police and the people behind the security, we felt that all the tiredness was lifted and we are ready to work again’,” he said, quoting the soldier.

“So I said, but not tomorrow. We will not call the Holy Father to come back tomorrow. But this is the spirit, I think.”

Tagle said the media also played a big role in the success of the visit and most especially the ordinary Filipino because of the way information was disseminated.

“Those who lined the streets, and those who woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning but never got to the quadrant,” he said, referring to the spaces provided for people who wanted to get inside Quirino Grandstand and Rizal Park for the mass.

“This event is really an act of communion, an act of solidarity. And it is a miracle in itself. And thanks to God and thanks to everyone, we were able to show to the world that it was possible. Communication, cooperation, collaboration – these are not just ideas. They can be put into action.”

Surprises

Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara said Francis sprang many surprises during his visit, which the people had witnessed – he did not read the prepared homilies because he wanted to speak from the heart in Spanish, especially when he went to Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte to be with the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

“The surprise of perhaps starting everything early, abbreviating everything but still the pope going through all the events. He did all the events,” he said.

“His spontaneity in embracing the young children, and of course, I think it’s also a first that he wore a raincoat and that was a very powerful image because if you saw it in social media, even in the newspapers, you saw him as one with us. And that was his intention even before coming here – he wanted to be one with us in mercy and compassion. I’m sure that indeed the pope is a pope of surprises, but God also surprised him.”

Coloma said people displayed their unity and cooperation in all events as they worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other people.

“I’m sure you will agree with me that they did all of those… We also acceded to the call of the Holy Father and the Church for us not to keep him away (from the flock), make him visible and accessible. Follow what he wants to do and make this the most memorable visit for him,” he said.

“So that is our view of what happened. Our people responded from the heart and they responded with faith and now they are full of hope.”

They would also like to salute the uniformed personnel for a job well done and for displaying dedication, hard work, patience and determination in all events, Coloma said.

Tagle said everyone would just have to wait and see if the pope would come back to the Philippines soon.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had invited Francis to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu in January 2016, he added.


Philippine Military making history: Cadet Denzel Corpuz leads the Honor Guard Battalion that rendered military honors for His Holiness Pope Francis at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace on Friday, January 16, 2015. The Pope paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S Aquino III as part of his State Visit and Apostolic Journey to the Republic of the Philippines. Photo by Rolando Mailo/ Malacañang Photo Bureau.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the affection of Francis for the Filipino people was truly evident in his official functions and unexpected interactions; and in every opportunity he used to bring the consolation of faith to the marginalized in society.

“His Holiness’ presence likewise brought together peoples of various faiths and backgrounds. In all the pope’s events, the Filipino people demonstrated warmth, discipline and faith, making Pope Francis’ visit truly meaningful and successful,” he said.

“We thank our countrymen for their solidarity in ensuring the safety of the pope: from the thousands who patiently lined the route of the papal motorcade; to the organizations that encouraged mindfulness and helped maintain order during the public engagements of the pope; and to the millions who participated in the papal activities. We recognize the dedication of the different church groups that worked hand-in-hand with government. Their cooperation, as they kept in mind advisories for all the events, contributed to fostering an organized and peaceful papal visit.”

The Filipino people once more showed what could be achieved when working towards a unified endeavor, Lacierda said.

Prayers and love protected Francis

The faithful’s love and prayers, not guns, protected Francis during his five-day visit to the Philippines.

Jona Villaflor, who had kept vigil at various corners of Quirino and Taft Avenues near the Apostolic Nunciature, said, “The government did not have any problem and did not find things difficult because it’s not their guns and warnings, but our love and prayers, of millions of Filipinos, that protected our pope.”

Her husband, a government employee, agreed with her.

Villaflor said it was also her second time to see Francis in person since Thursday and she never felt tired.

“It’s the pope who united us, and made us kind to each other,” she said.

“We felt that we’re all brothers and sisters in the mass.”

Ginny, who declined to give her last name, said she and other workers and volunteers from a Franciscan parish in Quezon City were sent to various papal engagements to help protect Francis.

“We’re here as human shields powered by prayers to protect the pope,” she said. “Nothing is more powerful than prayers and faith.”

Ginny said the feeling of seeing the pope was indescribable.

“I didn’t know I was crying,” she said. “I knew the Holy Spirit was truly in him and we all felt that.”

Various parishes and Catholic organizations formed and linked their respective “human chains” that manned the various routes where Francis and his convoy passed in Manila, Tacloban City and Palo.

Shortly before his arrival in Manila, a contingent of fully armed riot police equipped with shields and batons were lined up along Quirino Avenue in Manila near the Apostolic Nunciature.

Their presence drew howls of protests from people who saw the show of force as excessive and unsightly with all the religious images around.

They were pulled out after a few hours but later used to help disperse the crowd after the pope’s convoy passed on Thursday night.

Generally peaceful and orderly

Armed Forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said public cooperation made the visit of Pope Francis generally peaceful and orderly. – With Paolo Romero, Alexis Romero, Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe


INQUIRER

Aquino: Pope Francis ‘very very happy’ with his PH visit Frances Mangosing @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net 5:32 PM | Monday, January 19th, 2015


Pope Francis, center right, walks beside Philippine President Benigno Aquino III before boarding his plane as he departs Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. AP

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis was “very very happy” with the warmth of Filipinos during his five-day visit to the Philippines, which concluded on Monday, President Benigno Aquino III said.

“So tuwang-tuwa siya doon sa hospitality na ipinakita. Damang-dama daw niya yung warmth (He was very happy for the hospitality shown to him. He said he felt the warmth [deeply]),” Aquino said in an ambush interview with reporters after leading the send-off for Pope Francis at Villamor Air Base.

“May reflection siya dito sa buong biyahe niya at talagang gaano katuwa nga daw siya — gaano sila natutuwa nga dito sa mga — yung ipinakita ng ating sambayanan. So ang sabi ko: “Kaya nga ho sa aking pananaw, pribilehiyo mag-lingkod talaga sa sambayanang Pilipino (He has reflection on his whole trip and he’s very happy—how happy they [entourage] were—on what our people showed. So I told him: ‘That’s why from my point of view, it’s a privilege to serve the Filipinos,” Aquino added.

Asked if the Pope would return to the Philippines, Aquino said: “Hindi ko na natanong kung kailan babalik. Klaro naman na napagod siya doon sa buong byaheng ito (I didn’t ask when he’s going back. It’s clear how tired he’s been from the whole trip here),” he said.

The Pope’s visit was one of the biggest security operations in the Philippine history with a deployment of nearly 40,000 soldiers and policemen.

Before Pope Francis went to Villamor Air Base for his flight on Monday, he met with the government organizers to thank them.

The government also declared a three-day holiday to clear traffic in Metro Manila.

Aquino, Cabinet and Church officials were part of the delegation that bade Pope Francis goodbye. The pontiff was bound for Rome after his weeklong Asian trip.

Originally posted as of 4:34 PM| Monday, January 19, 2015


CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

In latest interview, Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis' secret recipe for happiness.

In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:

1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead a general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican last month. (CNS/Paul Haring)

2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."

3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist -- gaucho Don Segundo Sombra -- looks back on how he lived his life.

"He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool" of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water -- to have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."

4. "A healthy sense of leisure." The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said.

"Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.

Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it "complicated, but you must do it," he said.

Families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime "doesn't let you communicate" with each other, the pope said.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because "Sunday is for family," he said.

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. "We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs" and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.

"It's not enough to give them food," he said. "Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home" from one's own labor.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said. "I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'"

8. Stop being negative. "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'" the pope said. "Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy."

9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing," the pope said.

10. Work for peace. "We are living in a time of many wars," he said, and "the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive" and dynamic.

Pope Francis also talked about the importance of helping immigrants, praising Sweden's generosity in opening its doors to so many people, while noting anti-immigration policies show the rest of Europe "is afraid."

He also fondly recalled the woman who helped his mother with the housework when he was growing up in Buenos Aires.

Concepcion Maria Minuto was a Sicilian immigrant, a widow and mother of two boys, who went three times a week to help the pope's mother do laundry, since in those days it was all done by hand.

He said this hard-working, dignified woman made a big impression on the 10-year-old future pope, as she would talk to him about World War II in Italy and how they farmed in Sicily.

"She was as clever as a fox, she had every penny accounted for, she wouldn't be cheated. She had many great qualities," he said.

Even though his family lost touch with her when they moved, the then-Jesuit Father Jorge Bergoglio later sought her out and visited her for the last 10 years of her life.

"A few days before she died, she took this small medal out of her pocket, gave it to me and said: 'I want you to have it!' So every night, when I take it off and kiss it, and every morning when I put it back on, this woman comes to my mind."

"She died happy, with a smile on her face and with the dignity of someone who worked. For that reason I am very sympathetic toward housecleaners and domestic workers, whose rights, all of them, should be recognized" and protected, he said. "They must never be exploited or mistreated."

Pope Francis' concern was underlined in his @Pontifex Twitter feed just a few days later, July 29, with the message: "May we be always more grateful for the help of domestic workers and caregivers; theirs is a precious service." END


INQUIRER

Pope to PH: Evangelizing Asia is your mission Lito B. Zulueta @inquirerdotnet 1:25 AM | Thursday, January 22nd, 2015


Pope Francis delivers his blessing during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Pope Francis is praising big families after saying Catholics don’t have to breed “like rabbits.” He says big families are a gift and don’t cause poverty in the developing world, and that the real cause of poverty is an unjust economic system that idolizes money over people. AP PHOTO/ANDREW MEDICHINI

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis told hundreds of pilgrims from all over the world attending his regular Wednesday audience that it was the Philippines’ mission to evangelize the “great continent of Asia.”

He also praised the “large families” in the Philippines, calling them a “gift from God.”

The remark apparently was to clarify the statements he made during a press conference aboard the plane taking him back to Rome after his highly successful visit to the Philippines from Jan. 15 to 19 that Catholics “should not breed like rabbits.”

His unusually frank language raised negative reactions, particularly on social media, where some commentators said it was offensive to people who were raised in large families.

The Pope said that while in the Philippines, it gave him great “consolation and hope to see so many large families who welcome children as a true gift of God. They know that every child is a blessing.”

He said to blame big families and overpopulation for poverty was “simplistic.”

The Pope said the real cause of poverty was an unjust economic system that idolized money over people.

“Let us all say that the principal cause of poverty is an economic system that has taken the person from the center and put the god of money in its place,” he said to the loud applause of the audience.

Reporting about his recent Asian pastoral trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, he said he commended the Philippines to “its patron saint, the Holy Child of Jesus, so that it could perform its role of evangelizing the great continent of Asia.”

Francis celebrated his final Mass in the Philippines during the Feast of the Santo Niño, the biggest Catholic devotion in the Philippines and the first to be introduced by the Spanish missionaries in 1565.

He said his visit to the Philippines was significant as the country was the foremost Catholic country in Asia and was marking the fifth centenary of the introduction of Christianity.

‘Oceanic’ welcome

Francis spoke about the big crowds that welcomed him during his visit to the Philippines.

“I keep ever in my heart the memory of the festive welcome on the part of the crowds, in some cases virtually oceanic, which accompanied the salient moments of the trip,” he said.

The Pope called the Philippines “the principal Catholic country of Asia whose people practice their faith even when forced to work abroad.”

“The Filipino people are well known for their profound faith, their religiosity and their enthusiasm, also in the diaspora,” he said.

He said he traveled to the Philippines principally to console the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), and while bad weather forced him to cut short his visit to Leyte province he was able to “render tribute to the faith and the capacity for recovery of the local population.”

Francis noted the deep faith of the typhoon survivors.

“The strength of the love of God, revealed in the mystery of the Cross,” he said, “was rendered evident in the spirit of solidarity demonstrated by the many acts of charity and sacrifice that marked those dark days,” he said.

The Pope, in his meeting with young people at the University of Santo Tomas, urged the youth to serve the poor and protect the environment.

Peace, reconciliation

Francis earlier pointed out that Christianity also had deep roots in Sri Lanka.

He explained that he went to the South Asian country in order to canonize Fr. Joseph Vaz, who helped rebuild the Church of Sri Lanka in the 17th century in the face of persecution by Protestant Dutch colonists.

He said his visit in Sri Lanka was meant to promote “peace and reconciliation” as well as dialogue among religions in “a multicultural context.”

During his recent trip, his second to Asia after Korea last August, Francis gave a very vigorous defense of the controversial 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae” by Pope, now Blessed, Paul VI, which reaffirmed the Church’s long-standing position against artificial birth control.

Paul VI issued the document at a time when the Church was under pressure to modify its position on sexuality in the light of claims that overpopulation would cause famine and disaster.

In his remarks especially in the Philippines, the Pope condemned “ideological colonization” in which agencies would impose conditionalities on grant applicants in order to promote western sexual and materialistic values on the Third World, disparaging their “culture and identity.”

The Pope warned that contraception and population control had resulted in dwindling birth rates in Europe, which would have an impact on social security.

In the press conference on the papal plane on Jan. 19, the Pope also condemned “Neo-Malthusianism,” referring to the teachings of the 19th century Anglican cleric Thomas Malthus who warned that population growth would outpace the capacity of the planet to sustain life for future generations.

“What do you call Neo-Malthusianism? Less than 1 percent of birth rate in Italy. The same in Spain. That is Neo-Malthusianism that seeks to control humanity on behalf of the powers that be.”

Francis called Paul VI “prophetic” for resisting the Neo-Malthusian warnings.


INQUIRER

PAL's gifts to Pope Niña P. Calleja @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:05 AM | Friday, January 23rd, 2015


GIFT FOR THE POPE Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista presented Pope Francis with a framed copy of the front page of the Inquirer’s Jan. 15 issue during the Pontiff’s flight back to Rome on Monday. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ As he flew home to Rome from Manila on Monday, Pope Francis received a framed copy of the front page of the Inquirer Jan. 15 issue as a gift from the president of Philippine Airlines (PAL).

“I handed to him a front page copy of the Inquirer on Jan. 15. And he really liked it,” Jaime Bautista, president and chief operating officer of PAL, said yesterday at a news conference with the men and women who served on the PAL flights of Pope Francis from Manila to Tacloban City and back last Saturday and from Manila to Rome on Monday.

The Jan. 15 issue of the Inquirer showed a full-body picture of Pope Francis beaming and waving under the banner headline “Mabuhay, Papa Francis!”

“We also had him sign another copy for us,” Bautista said.

Bautista also gave Pope Francis other gifts, including a letter from PAL’s chair and chief executive officer who recently regained control of the airline from San Miguel Corp.

Billionaire Lucio Tan was reportedly overseas during the papal visit.

“I also presented to him a lifestyle magazine with his photo [on the] cover,” Bautista said.

He said he also gave the Pope a membership card in the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of the Philippines.

“I told him the members consider [him the] wind beneath their wings,” Bautista said, recounting the encounter of PAL officials and crew with Francis on the plane before landing at Rome’s Ciampino Airport.

No turbulence

Members of the crew of the papal flights called “Shepherd One” shared their feelings during their encounters with the Pontiff.

Even Bautista’s voice cracked and he became teary eyed when he began thanking all the PAL personnel, including the members of the airport ground crew and the people in the catering services, who made the papal flights successful.

“It was an honor to fly him. He was an inspiration to the Filipino people,” Bautista said.

The pilots and members of the cabin crew described their flights with the Pope as “blessed.”

“We were expecting some turbulence on the way to Ciampino but the entire flight went so smooth,” said a cabin crew member, Lorenza Sarza.

Sarza was part of the crew who attended to Francis during the 14-hour flight back to Rome.

Francis likes ‘dinuguan’

Francis Aduna, the youngest crew member on the flight, recalled one instance when the Pope, Argentinian but with Italian roots, gently corrected his pronunciation of ajillo when he asked him about his preferred meal. “It’s ahiyo (with the Latin-American Spanish sound of the “ll”), not ahilyo,” he said.

He said he was touched when the Pontiff remembered his name and told him he would always pray for them.

She said the Pope’s inflight meals included popular Filipino dishes such as arroz caldo or porridge and dinuguan (pork cutlets stewed in lemongrass and ginger-flavored blood sauce).

Sarza said the crew fully explained to Francis what dinuguan was made of.

Dinuguan is usually not appealing to foreigners in the Philippines.

“He said yes to it, and he finished it. It seems that he enjoyed it,” Sarza said.

The inflight menu was a mix of Italian and Filipino dishes. Among the Italian dishes were gambas ajillo on quinoa salad, assorted bread rolls, ciabatta slices with herbs and black olives.

Handpicked pilots

The pilots on Shepherd One handpicked by the PAL management were the country’s best.

The pilot in command on all the PAL papal flights was Capt. Manuel Antonio Tamayo, who is also PAL’s vice president for flight operations.

At the controls of the flight to Rome from Manila was Capt. Eric Isaac, deputy chief pilot of PAL’s A340-A330 division.

Capt. Roland Narciso and Capt. George Alvarez were the pilots of the Pope’s flights to Tacloban and back.

The pilots managed to duck Tropical Storm “Amang” (international name: Mekkhala) but it required the abbreviation of the Pope’s visit to Tacloban and Palo town.

Bautista said some of the crew members were picked through a raffle draw.

“So [they were lucky indeed],” he said.

Lucky mother

One of the lucky ones was Rowena Clemente, whose child died from asthma two years ago.

“I was just near him. Unlike the others out there, I didn’t have to squeeze myself through a crowd,” Clemente said.

Clemente said she offered the Pope a letter from her 6-year-old child and brought to him the picture of her family to be blessed.

She said that when he saw the letter, the Pope, appearing surprised, said: “For me? For me? OK, I will read. I will read.”

“He was childlike. His eyes were so soulful like those of Padre Pio,” Clemente said.

Tears welled up in her eyes when she brought up her 23-year-old son who died two years ago.

“I showed him the picture of my son. I told him, ‘Holy Father, mi hijo (my son), mercy, pardon,’” she said.

It was her ultimate goal for her son to have peace, she said. “Being blessed by the Pope, it was like [being blessed] by the Lord himself,” she said.

The ‘blessed’ others

The other lucky crew members on the Tacloban flight were Carol Uy, Maria Elvina Reyes, Elsa Yuzon and Maria Ana Alvarez, Angelo Chingcuangco. On the secondary flight were Jose Raymundo Antonio, Claudia Cruz, Avegail Sison, Rossann Domingo and Genesis Plaza.

On the flight back to Rome with Sarza, Aduna and Clemente were Jeanette Perez, Millicent Reyes, Jan Mara Corteza, Michael Macaraeg, Ruby Carol Manzano, Jacquiline Burgos, Evangeline Recio and Arys Obeza.

Humble ways

Unknown to many, the flight’s captain, Tamayo, is also a man of God, being a lay eucharistic minister at San Agustin Church in Makati City for a decade now.

Flying once or twice a month as part of the management of PAL, Tamayo witnessed the Pope’s humility during his flight back to Rome.

One time, Francis went to the cockpit to personally thank the pilots. He also shared a common lavatory with the pilots and the crew members.

The crew prepared a lav for him, but the 78-year-old Pontiff kept using the one near his seat, which was also being used by the pilots.

“Our encounters were overwhelming. I am not an emotional person but I was at one point teary eyed,” Tamayo said.

He recalled one incident when Francis allowed his picture to be taken with the flight crew even if it was not allowed by the Vatican staff.

“He called me to join in the picture,” he said.

Shepherd One departed Manila on Monday at 10 a.m. for a 14-hour flight to Rome, leaving behind millions of Filipinos who made great efforts to catch a last glimpse of Pope Francis as he concluded his first visit to the Philippines.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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