AuthorEdna Hall

Why Did The Pope Visit The Philippines?

Pope Francis visited the Philippines in 2015 on a papal visit termed “A nation of Mercy and Compassion”. The visit recorded the highest turn out exceeding the crowd at the World Youth Day which was the highest gathering for a papal visit at the time.

Though a lot can be said about the visit, very little is said about the reason behind the visit.

Why did the Pope visit the Philippines? The Pope’s Apostolic visit was in order to console the victims of ‘Yolanda’ super typhoon which was the strongest typhoon making landfall in history. Pope Francis had also wanted to visit the Philippines as his predecessor was unable to do so.

The people of Philippines definitely appreciated this visit as they came en masse to welcome the Pope. The three days of his visit were declared public holidays and the Philippines definitely took advantage of it.

The purpose and impact of his visit were felt all through the country.

What Was The Purpose Of The Pope’s Visit?

The Pope’s visit to the Philippines was not without an agenda or purpose and every day of the visit was tailored to fulfilling that purpose.

In the spirit of mercy and compassion, the Pope’s visit touched the hearts of many especially the victims of ‘Yolanda’, the typhoon Haiyan that the Pope despite all odds went to see.

On January 15, the Pope arrived at the Philippines’ air base at 5:32 pm. He was welcomed by various government officials including the President and highly regarded religious officials.

The next day, Pope Francis drove to the Malacanang Palace. President Benigno Aquino III met with the Pope and there was a meeting held with other diplomats and officials at Rizal Memorial Hall.

At the gathering, the President gave a speech addressing the roles of the church in the country. Pope Francis spoke after the President’s speech urging politicians to shun corruption and pay attention to the needs of the poor.

After the meeting, there was a closed off mass held at Manila Cathedral consisting of just Bishops, Nuns, Priests, Seminarians, and 500 lay persons. Before the mass, the Pope and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle had met with some street children fed by the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation.

On Saturday, the Pope traveled to Tacloban by 7:37 am. Using the Philippines airlines, he arrived at Tacloban around 8:50 am to be welcomed by the Palo Archbishop John F. Du. At the airport, the Pope conducted a mass in the Celebration of the Eucharist.

He had lunch with the survivors of the typhoon Haiyan. He also blessed the Pope Francis Center for the Poor that was completed in December 2014. The Pope held a brief meeting with the religious leaders. His visitation was cut short due to the brewing Tropical Storm Mekkhala.

The Pope met with representatives of other religions on Sunday after which he also met with about 24,000 youth representatives at Santo Tomas Field. The concluding mass for the Pope’s visit was held at Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park.

This mass was open to the general public and it witnessed a massive turn out of over six million people, making it the largest mass during a papal visit.

The people sang the World Youth Day Anthem ‘Tell the World of His Love’ and the theme song for the Pope’s visit ‘We Are All God’s Children’.

On Monday, the Pope was ready to take off after a send-forth ceremony with the President, cabinet officials and other government officials.

Prominent religious leaders were also in attendance. The Pope’s visit definitely touched the Philippines in a true spirit of mercy and compassion.

Did The Pope’s Visit Achieve Its Purpose?

Yes, the Pope’s visit definitely achieved its purpose. Despite the hurdles and challenges, Pope Francis ensured that the truth of the theme was conveyed to the Philippines especially the survivors of the typhoon.

Pope Francis visit touched the hearts of many and the comments of the Philippines showed that the visit was highly appreciated.

The papal visit was able to reach various aspects of the country and the Pope was able to meet with not just religious leaders but also political leaders.

Does The Pope Visit Countries Often?

While travel is not common to the papacy, Pope Francis, like a few of his predecessors, often visit other countries that request his presence.

The Pope that visited other countries the most is Pope John Paul II. He traveled far more than all of his predecessors, traveling approximately 31 times around the earth.

Pope Francis has gone on various visits ranging from international trips to unscheduled visits. Since 2013, the Pope has embarked on approximately 45 international trips.

Everywhere he goes, he holds a mass and blesses the people of the land. These visits help strengthen the faith of the Catholics in the land.



News About Pope Francis Visit To The Philippines

Pope Francis visit to the Philippines is not an event forgotten in a hurry. The visit, etched on the lines of history forever, provides a lot to report and talk about. There is a lot of news about the happenings during Pope Francis visit to the Philippines.

News About Pope Francis Visit To The Philippines? Pope Francis visit to the Philippines recorded the largest final mass gathering. The Pope, also despite all odds and a tropical storm, went to see the survivors of the Typhoon Haitian.

The three days of the Pope Francis visit was packed full of activities. Let’s discuss what was said about this visit and news that made the rounds during and after the Pope’s visit.

What Did Pope Francis Do During His Visit?

Here are some of the highlights of the important things that the Pope did during his visit to the Philippines.

  • Pope Francis on the second day of his arrival went to see the President at the Malacanang Palace. There were other diplomats and official present at the Rizal Memorial Hall used for the gathering. The President made a speech that would be later termed controversial. Pope Francis, in his speech, called for integrity and honesty in political leaders. He advised that leaders should shun corruption. He also declared that his visit is to show the closeness of the Typhoon Yolanda survivors to his heart.
  • After seeing the President, Pope Francis held a closeted mass with Catholic leaders ranging from bishops, nuns, priests, seminarians, and a few laypersons. He highlighted issues of inequality and injustice and said leaders should lead society away from confusion on sexuality, marriage, and family. Taking the side doors after mass, he was able to meet with some street children. The Pope also held a meeting of families with representatives from various dioceses.
  • The Pope’s visit to Leyte despite the tropical storm notice was one of the noteworthy things about his visit to the Philippines. He had lunch with the survivors of the Haiyan Typhoon. There was also a mass held at the Tacloban airport. The Pope also commissioned a clinic completed in December 2014. Though the visit was short due to the storm, the survivors and Leyte felt appreciated by the Pope’s gesture.
  • The final mass was the largest papal gathering since the turn out for World Youth day in 1995 at the same venue. The mass held at Luneta Park. More than the five million people that were recorded to be at Pope John Paul’s World Youth Day Mass, the Mass, by the estimation of the Metro Manila Development Authority, had six million people in attendance.

Though the Pope only had major activities on three days of his visit, he did a lot and clearly, the purpose of his visit was accomplished. The Philippines were excited to have him and the comments from survivors of Typhoon Haiyan showed that his visit had an impact on them.

Controversies That Arose During The Pope’s Visit

Certain issues arose during the preparation for and during the visit of Pope Francis. Most of these issues got resolved and the visit went peacefully.

However, two of the major controversies surrounding the Pope’s visit are the alleged abuse of street children and the President’s speech.

Street children had been rounded up by the government to prevent attacks to the Pope by street gangs run by these children.

Press publications released to the effect that these children get abused in the detention centers.

MailOnline gave an exclusive report on this child abuse in Manila. The report claimed that these children suffered physical and sexual abuse, lacked education, and wasn’t treated with basic dignity.

In response to an inquiry made concerning the situation, Pasay City Social Welfare Department chief, Rosalinda Orobia said that the rounding up action was to protect the Pope and prevent street gangs from taking advantage of him.

This only riled criticism at the authorities as questions were asked as to if the Pope’s arrival was the only important issue.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, Dinky Soliman, officially reported on the issue on January 16, claiming that the street children were not abused and photos published on MailOnline were old pictures.

She cited the case of a child named Federico in the pictures, claiming that the child was under care. She also said corrective measures have been taken against the abusive practices of the past.

It would have been great if there was an opportunity for the Pope to visit these detention camps so there would have been a completely satisfying answer to this issue.

The President’s Speech was one of the other controversies that arose during the Pope’s visit. President Benigno Aquino III had, in his speech, criticized the Church for not acting during past administration abuses.

This criticism got mixed reactions as some thought it honest while others claimed it was inappropriate.

Cardinal Luis Tagle described it as a “commentary of previous administration”. He also said: “I think [Aquino] was coming from a deeply personal experience and also a deeply political experience.

The personal experience that shaped that type of interpretation of facts was his own suffering during martial law and his appreciation for the role of the Church during that time.” But, Tagle implored the public to focus on the papal visit and revisit the President’s speech after.

The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi said the speech was original as speeches like that were not usually given at the Pope’s reception.

He also described the speech as “very interesting” and showing two different perspectives; one of “the politician and the Pope”.

These issues didn’t affect the reception of the Pope or the smooth running of activities related to his visit.

The Philippines gave the Pope a warm reception and visit was one that will remain etched in history.


What Does The Pope Think About Psychics?


A psychic is a person that has paranormal abilities or can see into the supernatural. People are known to contact these psychics to read into their future or help them know what to do.

This practice is quite common in Rome, which is the home of the Pope. The Pope has, however, made his opinion of this practice common even among Christians clear.

What Does The Pope Think About Psychics? The Pope does not support going to see psychics. The Pope described it as idol worship He said that a Christian does not need a Psychic or horoscope, only guidance from God.

The Pope also had much to say about the related practices of fortune telling, horoscope reading, tarot cards, and the likes.

What Advice Did The Pope Give Concerning Psychics?

The Pope advised Christians not to turn towards psychics or horoscopes but look unto God. At the morning mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae on June 26, 2018, Pope Francis said,

‘The Christian life is a path along which men and women are called to be led by God rather than turning to psychics and horoscopes in the hopes of knowing what lies ahead.’

He went on to explain how Christians especially Catholics should pray and live their lives without dependence on mediums or supernatural influences like horoscopes and crystal balls.

“A Christian does not have a horoscope to see the future. He doesn’t go to a fortune teller with a crystal ball or have his palm read. No, no! He doesn’t know where he is going. He is guided.”

The Pope’s advice for Christians was to follow the lifestyle of guidance by God. He implored that Christians should trust in the Lord and look toward him for all their answers.

Pope Francis advised Christians to live the lifestyle of people journeying towards the Promised Land.

Witchery has been condemned by the Catholic Church from time past. The practice of fortune-telling, going to psychics or witches is still not acceptable in the Catholic Church of today.

Pope Francis declared that such acts are acts of idol worship. He urged people to turn towards the one true God as these idols will just disappoint them.

He told the masses of the benefits of this one true God. He said the true God does not ask for your life but rather give you his own.

“The true God does not offer a projection of our success, but teaches us to love,” Pope Francis said that recognizing these idols and freeing oneself from them is the beginning of grace that puts one on a path of love.

The Church’s Opinion On Fortune-Telling, Psychics, and Witches

The Catholic Church has always had a firm stand against fortune telling, psychic counselors, and witches. The first commandment of, “I am the Lord thy God.  Thou shalt not have any gods before me,” is not taken with levity in the Church.

While it is believed that God can make his will known through his prophets and saints, people are advised to rely on God to tell them their future and how to live.

St. Paul said that “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His decree” (Romans 8:28).

Relying on this promise, one does not need the aid of fortunetellers, psychics, or witches to live a fulfilled life.

All these sorts of practices are condemned in the Old and New Testaments. You would find verses like:

“You shall not let a sorceress live” (Exodus 22:17),

“Whoever sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord alone, shall be doomed” (Exodus 22:19),

“A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning:  they have no one but themselves to blame for their death” (Leviticus 20:27), and

“Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortuneteller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead.  Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord…”

All these verses from the Old Testament condemn the fortune telling, witchery, and psychics and the Catholic Church still stands by them.

From the New Testament of the Bible,

“But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:” (Acts 8:9)

“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” (Acts 13:8)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” (Galatians 5:19).

St. Paul in the last two chapters, rebuked Elymas for practicing sorcery and called it an act of the flesh in Galatians. St. Peter, in Acts 8, rebuked Simon who wanted to buy the power of the Holy Ghost to make his sorcery more powerful.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ declared, “As for the cowards and traitors to the faith, the depraved and murderers, the fornicators and sorcerers, the idol-worshipers and deceivers of every sort– their lot is the fiery pool of burning sulfur– the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Though the Church condemns the act of witchcraft, psychics, fortune telling and other associated practices, the Church believes in the gospel of love.


Therefore, practices like witch hunting and burning are not condoned by the church. Throughout history, Catholic Popes have stood against using torture or burning a person regarded as a witch.

Pope Nicholas I, in 866, prohibited torture for obtaining confessions, though it was allowed in civil law and judicial practices.  Pope Gregory VII in 1080, stood against putting accused witches to death for supposedly causing storms or crop failures.

The church teaches love and abstinence from all kinds of idol worship.



7 Interesting Facts About The Pope You Didn’t Know

The pope acts as a symbol for holiness and goodness for the Catholic believers all around the world. He is the leader of the Catholic church and is among the best known public and influential figures worldwide.

The institution has been around for centuries with the pope actually being the head of state in the Vatican City. Pope Francis is the current 266th pope, and it’s sufficed to say that he is beloved by the people, both believers and non-believers from all across the world.

Most people have a picture of the pope as the guy goggling with kids, shaking hands and blessing masses as he goes. There’s more to him than that. Here are seven interesting facts about the pope you probably didn’t know:

pope facts

#1. First Latin American Pope

His real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He’s the first Jesuit pope to lead the Catholic church, the first pope originating from the Americas and the first non-European native pope since Gregory III in 741 more than 1,000 years ago. It’s important to note that Jesuits are excellent communicators. Out of the 265 popes that have come before him, 200 were natives of Italy alone so you can see how rare and hard it is for a pope whose homeland is outside Europe to get the post.

#2. Was The Runners Up To Become Pope In 2005

He came in second in the election that elected Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) as pope in 2005 after the passing on of Pope John Paul II. This shows how popular he was at the time among his fellow Arch Bishops by receiving the second most votes.

#3. Lives In A Simple Guest House

Rather than take advantage of the perks that come with being the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis rejected staying in the upscale apartment quarters within the Vatican walls used by previous the popes. He instead decided to reside in a simple two-room apartment. He broke a century-long tradition.

#4. Named “Person of the Year”

During the time of his inauguration in 2013, he was named as the Person of the year by Time making him the first ever pope to receive such an accolade. He was honored with this title due to the impact and influence he had already made as a leader. The reason he is called ‘the people’s pope’ is because of how he loves children and allows them to get close, blessing them during ceremonies, visiting the sick and advocating for people’s rights are but a few of the things he does.

#5. He isn’t A Fan Of The Bulletproof Popemobile

The pope doesn’t like the traditional bulletproof Popemobiles because he sees them as “sardine cans” with glass enclosures which people are gawking at as he rolls by. Even though not everyone may mean to cause harm to the pope, he said he still preferred to be closer to the people on the ground. During his papacy, Pope Francis has been cruising around in cars like Jeep Wranglers and Fiats which allows human contact and personal appeal.

#6. Has One Lung

In his teenage years, Pope Francis was diagnosed with a severe infection that resulted in him undergoing surgery to remove the infected lung. Sadly, this operation wouldn’t be needed today with the current advancements in antibiotics. Medical professionals were concerned about his health at the time of the conclave but at the ripe age of 82 years, he is in good physical health.

#7. Multilingual

Pope Francis is conversant and doesn’t struggle much with many languages. Though the pope often uses Italian, Latin or Spanish to carry his roles, he is also fluent in German, Portuguese, Ukrainian, English and French. This grasp of different languages allows him to reach a wide range of his congregation globally who look up to him as a source of inspiration and moral guidance.

Pope Francis has tried to repair the tarnished history of the Catholic Church taking it upon himself to lead by example through humanitarian efforts which have made him capture the hearts of many. His humility alone is a basis for great admiration, especially by the people in Niagara Falls. By reading just a few of these facts, you can see why he is admired and respected by many.

How Much Does the Pope Make?

Although being Pope is a big responsibility and requires of much time, devotion, and work. The work of the Pope is the work of God. There is no salary assigned to the pope, the monthly expenses of the pope are all covered by the Curia funds. The compensation for being a Pope for a year is of 1 gold coin, 1 silver coin and 1 copper coin. These are not received by the Pope on life but are awarded after his death and all the coins earned during his papacy are placed inside the Popes coffin.

Salaries within the Catholic Church

Although the Pope does not receive a salary, other positions of the Catholic Church do. Being a priest is one of the most significant jobs in the Catholic Churches all around the world, and these men are compensated with a net income of about 25,000 dollars a year, and this is the base salary for a newly ordained priest as after a certain amount of years and experience the salary of a priest can become up to 44,417 dollars a year. It has been sated that a few priests in specific countries can make up to 75,355 dollars a year.

Salaries for Cardinals within the Catholic Church

The Cardinals of the Catholic Church have been known to make a good sum of money a year, it is said that the lowest salary for a Cardinal is of 34,618 dollars a year, while the average income of Cardinals around different regions is of about 71,214 dollars a year. The highest sum received by a Cardinal has been stated to be of 146,497 dollars a year.   Cardinals are entitled to a compensation of a Cardinals plate which is set to be worth 5,000 euros on average and is meant to cover all of the Cardinals expenses.

The Vatican Bank

Though Popes have no set income, the Vatican does have a bank, the full movement of money in the Vatican is said to be of about 64 billion dollars. Though there are no specifics as to who is accounted for this wealth, the bank does own 764 million dollars in equity. Considering the only citizens of the Vatican are members of the church, technically this wealth is attributed to the Catholic Church. The Vatican Bank has said to have closed nearly 4,000 bank accounts after accusations of money laundering over the past few years. Furthermore, the Vatican Banks has been speculated to keep reserves of up to 20 million dollars’ worth in gold.

The Assets Belonging to the Catholic Church

If we consider the Catholic Church as a company, that would make the Pope the CEO of the Catholic Church company. The Church is said to have 8 billion dollars in assets, meaning that the pope would have 8 billion dollars at his disposal. But since the Catholic Church is not a company, the Pope does not handle the sum of money that the Catholic Church is worth, they have staff in place to look after the numerous assets of the church including their banks, real estate holdings and other assets. Here is a closer look at the wealth of the Catholic Church.

The Papal Salary

Although the Pope does not receive a salary, he is said to receive millions of dollars a year for his personal use, much like the Royal Families throughout Europe and around the world. This is not directly awarded by the Catholic Church or the Vatican City. Rather from contributions and donations.

Saint Peter’s Pence, is known to be a way for the Vatican to charge taxes, in the US, a voluntary payment is made of one penny from every household, considering the large population of Catholics in the US, the sum made by the Vatican just by the US is set to be large.  Bear in mind that there are nearly 1.2 billion Catholics around the world and this sum can add up rather quickly.


The Vatican makes an income as well from tourists, as they charge nearly 16 euros per tickets, and the tourism to the Vatican City has been said to have increased since Pope Francis was elected back in 2013, in 2017, the Vatican museum alone was said to have received 4.3 million tourists. Accounting the price per ticket this is a high income for the Vatican City.

The current Pope, Pope Francis has made a vow of poverty, he can therefore own no land other than the Vatican City, which he does not own but is rather a custodian for his papacy term. Nevertheless, he does have a pension fund which is said to go as high as to the amount of 24,000 euros per year.

All the money that is raised by the Catholic Church does not go to the Pope, but to charitable actions, and church activities.

I believe this article has given you a clue on Pope’s financial income.

How Old was the Youngest Man Acknowledged by the Vatican as Pope?

How old was the youngest man acknowledged by the Vatican as pope?  Let’s look at what it takes to be the pope and delve a bit into the history to see who the youngest pope was.

The Head of the Church

The pope is the head of the Catholic Church. The pope serves as both the head of the Catholic Church and the head of the Vatican state, to be a pope there are a few steps to follow, and even fewer requirement. The requirements being, to be male and to be an active member of the Catholic Church.   By following these steps, you won’t necessarily become a pope, but to become a pope you do have to follow these steps.

Becoming the Pope

The first step to follow is to become a Catholic, if you were not born in to Catholic faith, the first step will be to convert to the Catholic Church. You will have to be educated, this process is usually done in a kid’s teenage years, and it is called catechism. Then, you have to get baptized, and the final step to become Catholic is to confess to all your sins.

The second is to become a priest, as this will be your lifestyle, it is important that you consider what becoming a priest entail. You can consult your church’s priest, consider your qualities and those needed to be a priest.

Get involved in the church, take more leadership roles within your church, you can start a new youth program, if there isn’t one already, you can gather people to join a church, meet people from other churches, and go to international conferences.


Education is important to the Vatican, they emphasize that all members of the Vatican shall be well educated, starting with a high school diploma and opt to learn a foreign language. You will have to attend a seminary specially taught for potential priests at specific colleges.   It is important for you to find your spiritual journey, you can attend one of many schools to educate you on the Catholic doctrine, but it will be your decision to learn about it, to enroll in the program and to follow all the steps.

Ascending to the Papacy

Once you’ve become a priest, you have to follow your vocation and be a good priest to your church, be responsible, reliable and a good example.  The next step is to become a bishop, for this, you will have to have made a good impression as a priest and reached out to those and need looking for guidance from the church. It is crucial that a bishop has good communication skills and works well with others.  As a bishop, also referred to as pastor you will be the authority of your region. Bishops are chosen by the pope himself. You will have to keep in contact with the archbishop for your region and attend regular Bishop meetings.

Become a cardinal, to do so, you must have been selected by the pope to serve as cardinal to a region with high numbers of Catholic churches, not all regions are assigned a cardinal.  After having become a cardinal, you can be nominated for the next elections, the pope is elected by votes and are to serve as both pope to the Catholic Church and leader of the Vatican.

Having explained all the steps, it takes to become a Pope, who was the youngest to deserve the seat at the Catholic church?

A young boy, born by the name Theophylactus of Tusculum, became pope at the age of 20 (allegedly as his birthdate has not been confirmed) became the youngest pope in the history of the church. He was the nephew of both John XIX and Benedict VIII, who had both served as pope to the Church.

He has not only been named the youngest Pope, but also the worst, as in his time many tried for him to leave the seat as Pope, due to his poor decisions.  Benedict IX, the youngest pope in history served on three different terms, from 1032-1044, from 1045-1045, having served only one month and from 1047-1048.

Having been expelled from Rome the first and second time he served as Pope, he abdicated after his third term, as it is said he wanted to marry his cousin. He later on regretted the decision and returned to Rome and claimed the Throne, nevertheless it was Gregory VI who served as pope even after his return.

In today’s world it would be nearly impossible to become the Pope at such a young age.  During the election process the Cardinals look for someone who it more mature and can offer not just wisdom that comes with age but guidance for the church as well.

Misa de Gallo in Tacloban and Palo, Leyte

December 30, 2014

Palo, Leyte – Whether it is a fully-reconstructed barangay chapel or one that is currently being built, the people of Leyte flocked to the Misa de Gallo, the nine-day dawn masses in preparation for Christmas. “This year, it has a specific vibrancy and fervor because of the impact of the Pope’s coming. We also received guidelines to include the spiritual preparation of the people about mercy and compassion, the theme of the papal visit in January 2015, in our homilies during the Misa de Gallo,” said Fr. Oscar L. Florencio of the papal visit secretariat in Palo.

“Thanks to Caritas, NASSA, and the CBCP more than 50 barangays chapels have been reconstructed in Palo alone,” Fr. Florencio continued. Because of this, the people are also in high spirits, so happy to have a beautiful chapel where they can gather for the mass, fellowship and the sharing of the Word of God.

So they come in droves to the Christmas novena masses – in gratitude for the past year as they picked up the pieces after Yolanda, and also to present to Jesus and Mary their wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Almost all the barangays chapels have their own choir and they have a ‘misa cantada’ everyday! The responses of the faithful to the prayers of the priests are sung, not only to create a beautiful liturgy, but also for pastoral reasons. Since mass is celebrated at 4:00 AM, singing the responses helps the congregation to remain alert and awake during the celebration.

Another particular feature of the Misa de Gallo this year is the project Lamesa ni Marta as part of the Year of the Poor activities. This means inviting everyone, particularly those still struggling with the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda, to enjoy the food and the community after the celebration of the Eucharist. The Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) started this practice in some parishes in the past years. This time the whole diocese has committed to live the essence of the papal visit’s theme – mercy and compassion, and the Year of the Poor – do justice and love kindness by feeding the flock through Lamesa ni Marta.In some parishes, this project is carried out in close collaboration with local government units and generous lay people.

In Palo where the chapel of the Archbishop is still under construction, the faithful go to the chapel early and bring with them the images of San Roque, Our Lady, the Sacred Heart, etc. for the Aurora – the dawn rosary procession.  This beautiful devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary was re-introduced by Archbishop John Du in Palo and he would often join the people in procession. They go around the barangays holding the sacred images while saying the Holy Rosary, and the crowd expands as they go back to the chapel. The elderly who grew up with this devotion, families, young people and children, and even adult males join the crowd, each with a fervent wish and a prayer for Christmas.

After mass, more than 300 people partook of the hearty breakfast provided by the good bishop and prepared by volunteers.

Return Home

Papal liturgical book

You may now download your own free copy of the Liturgical Guide for the 2015 Papal Visit to the Philippines.  This booklet was produced and distributed through the generosity of worldwide subscribers of Living with Christ and Prions en ElgiseBayard Presse and the Augustinians of the Assumption through their International Solidarity Fund

Answers to Queries

What is route of the pope going to Luneta? We want to make sure we get a better glimpse of him by positioning ourselves where the motorcade will pass.

The authorities are still mapping out the routes for all the events during the papal visit, and will most likely disclose the details very close to or during the visit itself. But if you noticed the past papal visits, the pope’s motorcade never passes through side streets—only through main roads.  Your planning might be helped by knowing the itinerary of the Pope, which was announced at a press conference last November 14.  You may find and copy it from the official website,

The news said that in Korea, Pope Francis rode an ordinary Kia car. Will the Pope ride a bulletproof popemobile in the Philippines?  

This is a most repeated question especially by reporters during press briefings. And the answer is always “Nobody knows”.  It may be top secret but one thing sure, Pope Francis wants nothing ostentatious or pricey.  He likes touching people, and since this pope— besides being so “makamasa”—has been known to be a “pope of surprises” we won’t be surprised if he turns up in an open and very Pinoy dyipni.

After Mass the other day, the priest said we should hurry to secure tickets to places where the pope will appear but didn’t say how. Where we may apply for these tickets?

No tickets are issued, given away, or sold by the Papal Visit organizers. Beware of anyone who tries to sell you passes, accreditation cards, or tickets to any papal visit event.  All events may be witnessed by the public, although the meetings with the particular interest groups (youth, inter-religious, families) will be participated in by pre-selected representatives.

Is the Mass with bishops, priests and consecrated persons at the Manila Cathedral open to the public? We hear that only invited persons may attend it.  We are religious sisters, but we are not invited.  How may we participate there and in the Luneta?   

You are right, since the cathedral can accommodate only so many, dioceses from all over the country will just be sending delegations to the event. However, as with other major liturgical celebrations held at the Manila Cathedral, whatever goes on inside will be projected on huge screens outside.  There will be tents with seats in front of the cathedral; be there early to find a comfortable niche before the crowd sets in.  It will be the same situation at the Eucharistic celebration in Luneta.  Try asking for assistance from your parish priest or bishop who might be planning to attend these public gatherings.

Is the Dialogue with the Youth at the UST open to the public? We are a youth group from Bacolod City, may we be given slots for this event?

The event is open to the public, but the quadrangle will be cordoned off and reserved for students who will be issued proper passes. You may obtain accurate information from the Chancery or the bishop’s office in Bacolod—they may be organizing youth groups to send to Manila.  For more details on the encounter with the youth at the UST, please inquire by calling the UST Office of Public Affairs, tel. (02) 731-3544.

When Pope Paul VI visited the Philippines, he went to UST. When Pope John Paul II came, he also visited the UST.  Now Pope Francis is coming, he will also visit the UST.  Why always UST?  How lucky can UST get?

This is a very good question from a rather perplexed inquirer. Here’s a brief explanation: the University of Santo Tomas is a pontifical university, directly under the authority of the Roman Pontiff—the successor of Peter, the first pope. Aside from its function as a regular university, a pontifical university has a special mission of spreading the Gospel and promoting the teachings of the Catholic Church.  The Rector of a pontifical university is appointed by the Vatican, and whenever the pope travels to a country where there is a pontifical university, it is his duty and pleasure to visit this university not only to see how it’s doing but also to inspire and encourage its students, faculty, and staff in their evangelization efforts.

We are from Mindanao and we are very interested in joining our Holiness Pope Francis at the meeting with the families at Mall of Asia. Is there any reservation to be made? May I know any contact person and number or how much do we pay for this special event?

The Meeting with Families will be attended by families pre-selected by the Dioceses. Your best source of information would be your own parish and the diocesan office, wherever in the Philippines you happen to be.   Your parish priest would be a proper conduit to the bishop, and should be able to provide specific answers to your questions.

According to the website, only professional journalists and photographers may be accredited to cover the event. I am editor-in-chief of our university’s paper, we are planning to cover the event; may we be allowed to apply?

You read the website right—only professional journalists will be accredited to cover the event. Yu may apply for accreditation but to be approved, applications undergo a tedious sifting process Enthusiastic staffers of school organs and university publications may, of course, mingle with the public and produce great human interest stories which may be published in the official website blog, or in their own blog, linked to Facebook.

I’m from Malaysia, and would like to go to the Philippines during the pope’s visit. Are there any tour groups traveling from Malaysia to Philippines in January? 

None that we’ve heard of, although we have been told of Overseas Filipino Workers intending to come home for the pope’s visit. Why not ask around the travel agencies in your own place of origin, whatever country you’re coming from.  They would have up-to-date information, and if you wish to inquire about local tours in the Philippines, you may also request your agency to inquire and book for you.

A friend (Filipino) in Switzerland told me somebody has been raising funds for the papal visit, presenting a letter signed by Cardinal Tagle and another person, instructing them to deposit their donations to her account in the Philippines. A number of trusting and generous persons have donated, but my friend would rather follow the proper procedure.  Do you have an official bank account for receiving papal visit donations?

It’s good that your friend is asking first before parting with hard earned money. We are not sure about that fund-raiser in Switzerland, but should you or anyone you know wish to donate, the Papal Visit Finance Committee Executive Secretary Msgr. Clem Ignacio advises that you make all check donations payable to RCAM-PAPAL VISIT.
You may also deposit to Bank of Philippine Islands, BPI Current Account # 0051-0556-75, or to Security Bank, SB Savings Account #0061-015085-001. All donations are receipted, so when you deposit, kindly inform the Finance Committee by calling tel. (02) 527-2995, or emailing a copy of your deposit slip to,
so that your contribution may be properly identified and receipted. For further inquiries, please fax or call the office of Msgr. Clem (02) 527-2995, and talk to Marla, Kish or Mildred.

Where will Pope Francis stay during his visit? Will it be    the Manila Hotel?  Besides being a historic hotel, it is in Luneta, faster and safer for the pope to get to the grandstand.

This is one of those things the papal visit organizing committee is mum about, for understandable security reasons. Yours is a thoughtful and practical suggestion, but we have no answer to your question. We can only echo the assurance Cardinal Tagle gave to the curious reporters at a press conference who posed the same question: “Tiyak, may matutulugan siya!”  (For sure, he will have a place to sleep).

I saw the itinerary on Facebook. I’m wondering why Malacanang is first on the list.  Is it more important than the Mass with bishops at the Manila Cathedral?  Pope Francis could also use more time to be with the poor.

The pope’s trip to the Philippines is both a state visit and a pastoral visit. Being the Head of State of the Vatican City State, the pope is also welcomed by the Head of State of the host country.  He will be given arrival honors, have bilateral talks with  President Aquino and address government officials and the diplomatic corps in Malacanang.  We should rejoice that Jesus in the person of Pope Francis will be welcomed and heard in the presidential palace.

Where may I buy Pope Francis’ book “Education for Choosing Life: Proposal for a Difficult Time” locally and what is the cost? I would like to give it to my son and my daughter-in-law, both high school teachers.

That’s a good gift idea, because this book contains messages to teachers given by Jose Cardinal Bergoglio when he was Bishop of Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, that book may only be sold in the United States and Canada, according to the Ignatius Press website.

I and two others are customizing calendars for different parishes for commercial purposes. May I know if we may use the official logo of the papal visit?  A related question: I have a very small store and also print personalized t-shirts as a hobby. Can I print our beloved pope’s official logo on t-shirts and sell them to those who want so we can also wear papal shirts to show support for his visit to our country?

The official logo is copyrighted and may not be used for commercial purposes. So as not to dampen your enthusiasm, we respectfully suggest you create your own logos and designs bearing the essential elements of the visit, like the theme “Mercy and Compassion” coupled with an image of Pope Francis.  It will be a challenge to your inventiveness but your product will also be unique yours, something that might give you a greater sense of accomplishment.

How may we get a spot/booths where we may sell memorabilia at Luneta?

You may have to ask the Manila city government about this, if a special permit is required, or if you can just randomly pick a spot and sell your items. You may also inquire from the office of Bishop Pablo S. David, Holy Rosary Parish, Sto. Rosario St., Angeles City (Pampanga), tel. (45) 888-6355.  Bishop David is Chair of the Papal Visit Physical Arrangements Committee.

Where may we submit a quotation for portable toilets?

Try inquiring from the office of Msgr. Clem Ignacio who heads the Papal Visit Finance Committee, tel. 527-2995. You may also need permits from the Manila city health department since portable toilets affect sanitation.

Will the pope have a dialogue with HIV/AIDS patients? I hear that dioceses give access to PWD (Persons With Disabilities) but since I am not a PWD, I don’t ask to be included.

To date the visit’s program seems set, and there is no mention of a dialogue with HIV/AIDS patients. For your information, it is the Vatican who decides on the itinerary and all the pope’s activities during the visit.  Every week since last November 24, the Media Committee conducts press briefings at its general headquarters in the Knights of Columbus compound in Intramuros (across the NCCA offices).  Always present at these briefings is the head of the Media Committee, Bishop Mylo Vergara, with different panelists from the Church and the government each time, depending on the topic to be discussed.  The media then disseminate the latest updates; you may watch for them in the news, or visit for more information.


Dear Families,
Dear Friends in Christ,

I am grateful for your presence here this evening and for the witness of your love for Jesus and his Church. I thank Bishop Reyes, Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission on Family and Life, for his words of welcome on your behalf. And, in a special way, I thank those who have presented testimonies – thank you! – and who have shared their life of faith with us. The Church in the Philippines is blessed by the apostolate of numerous family movements and I thank them for their witness!

The Scriptures seldom speak of Saint Joseph, but when they do, we often find him resting, as an angel reveals God’s will to him in his dreams. In the Gospel passage we have just heard, we find Joseph resting not once, but twice. This evening I would like to rest in the Lord with all of you. I need to rest in the Lord with families, and to remember my own family: my father, my mother, my grandfather, my grandmother… Today I am resting with you, and together with you I would like to reflect on the gift of the family.

First, however, let me say something about dreams. But my English is so poor! If you allow me, I will ask Monsignor Miles to translate and I will speak in Spanish.

I am very fond of dreams in families. For nine months every mother and father dream about their baby. Am I right? [Yes!] They dream about what kind of child he or she will be… You can’t have a family without dreams. Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies. So I ask you each evening, when you make your examination of conscience, to also ask yourselves this question: Today did I dream about my children’s future? Today did I dream about the love of my husband, my wife? Did I dream about my parents and grandparents who have gone before me? Dreaming is very important. Especially dreaming in families. Do not lose this ability to dream!

How many difficulties in married life are resolved when we leave room for dreaming, when we stop a moment to think of our spouse, and we dream about the goodness present in the good things all around us. So it is very important to reclaim love by what we do each day. Do not ever stop being newlyweds!

Joseph’s rest revealed God’s will to him. In this moment of rest in the Lord, as we pause from our many daily obligations and activities, God is also speaking to us. He speaks to us in the reading we have just heard, in our prayer and witness, and in the quiet of our hearts. Let us reflect on what the Lord is saying to us, especially in this evening’s Gospel. There are three aspects of this passage which I would ask you to consider: First, resting in the Lord. Second, rising with Jesus and Mary. Third, being a prophetic voice.

Resting in the Lord. Rest is so necessary for the health of our minds and bodies, and often so difficult to achieve due to the many demands placed on us. But rest is also essential for our spiritual health, so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what he asks of us. Joseph was chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. As Christians, you too are called, like Joseph, to make a home for Jesus. To make a home for Jesus! You make a home for him in your hearts, your families, your parishes and your communities.

To hear and accept God’s call, to make a home for Jesus, you must be able to rest in the Lord. You must make time each day to rest in the Lord, to pray. To pray is to rest in the Lord. But you may say to me: Holy Father, I know that; I want to pray, but there is so much work to do! I must care for my children; I have chores in the home; I am too tired even to sleep well. I know. This may be true, but if we do not pray, we will not know the most important thing of all: God’s will for us. And for all our activity, our busy-ness, without prayer we will accomplish very little.

Resting in prayer is especially important for families. It is in the family that we first learn how to pray. Don’t forget: the family that prays together stays together! This is important. There we come to know God, to grow into men and women of faith, to see ourselves as members of God’s greater family, the Church. In the family we learn how to love, to forgive, to be generous and open, not closed and selfish. We learn to move beyond our own needs, to encounter others and share our lives with them. That is why it is so important to pray as a family! So important! That is why families are so important in God’s plan for the Church! To rest in the Lord is to pray. To pray together as a family.

I would also like to tell you something very personal. I have great love for Saint Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath Saint Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words I tell him: pray for this problem!

Next, rising with Jesus and Mary. Those precious moments of repose, of resting with the Lord in prayer, are moments we might wish to prolong. But like Saint Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act (cf. Rom 13:11). In casino our families, we have to get up and act! Faith does not remove us from the world, but draws us more deeply into it. This is very important! We have to be deeply engaged with the world, but with the power of prayer. Each of us, in fact, has a special role in preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom in our world.

Just as the gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph, so the gift of the family and its place in God’s plan is entrusted to us. Like Saint Joseph. The gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph so that he could care for it. Each of you, each of us – for I too am part of a family – is charged with caring for God’s plan. The angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph the dangers which threatened Jesus and Mary, forcing them to flee to Egypt and then to settle in Nazareth. So too, in our time, God calls upon us to recognize the dangers threatening our own families and to protect them from harm.

Let us be on guard against colonization by new ideologies. There are forms of ideological colonization which are out to destroy the family. They are not born of dreams, of prayers, of closeness to God or the mission which God gave us; they come from without, and for that reason I am saying that they are forms of colonization. Let’s not lose the freedom of the mission which God has given us, the mission of the family. Just as our peoples, at a certain moment of their history, were mature enough to say “no” to all forms of political colonization, so too in our families we need to be very wise, very shrewd, very strong, in order to say “no” to all attempts at an ideological colonization of our families. We need to ask Saint Joseph, the friend of the angel, to send us the inspiration to know when we can say “yes” and when we have to say “no”.

The pressures on family life today are many. Here in the Philippines, countless families are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters. The economic situationhas caused families to be separated by migration and the search for employment, and financial problems strain many households. 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. These are forms of ideological colonization. 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.

I think of Blessed Paul VI. At a time when the problem of population growth was being raised, he had the courage to defend openness to life in families. He knew the difficulties that are there in every family, and so in his Encyclical he was very merciful towards particular cases, and he asked confessors to be very merciful and understanding in dealing with particular cases. But he also had a broader vision: he looked at the peoples of the earth and he saw this threat of families being destroyed for lack of children. Paul VI was courageous; he was a good pastor and he warned his flock of the wolves who were coming. From his place in heaven, may he bless this evening!

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. The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 85). The future passes through the family. So protect your families! Protect your families! See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments. 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. What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation! So rise with Jesus and Mary, and set out on the path the Lord traces for each of you.

Finally, the Gospel we have heard reminds us of our Christian duty to be prophetic voices in the midst of our communities. Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord and responded to God’s call to care for Jesus and Mary. In this way he played his part in God’s plan, and became a blessing not only for the Holy Family, but a blessing for all of humanity. With Mary, Joseph served as a model for the boy Jesus as he grew in wisdom, age and grace (cf. Lk 2:52). When families bring children into the world, train them in faith and sound values, and teach them to contribute to society, they become a blessing in our world. Families can become a blessing for all of humanity! God’s love becomes present and active by the way we love and by the good works that we do. We extend Christ’s kingdom in this world. And in doing this, we prove faithful to the prophetic mission which we have received in baptism.

During this year which your bishops have set aside as the Year of the Poor, I would ask you, as families, to be especially mindful of our call to be missionary disciples of Jesus. This means being ready to go beyond your homes and to care for our brothers and sisters who are most in need. I ask you especially to show concern for those who do not have a family of their own, in particular those who are elderly and children without parents. Never let them feel isolated, alone and abandoned, but help them to know that God has not forgotten them. Today I was very moved when, after Mass, I visited a home for children without families. How many people work in the Church to make that home a family! This is what it means, in a prophetic sense, to build a family.

You may be poor yourselves in material ways, but you have an abundance of gifts to offer when you offer Christ and the community of his Church. Do not hide your faith, do not hide Jesus, but carry him into the world and offer the witness of your family life!

Dear friends in Christ, know that I pray for you always! I pray for families! I do! I pray that the Lord may continue to deepen your love for him, and that this love may manifest itself in your love for one another and for the Church. Do not forget Jesus who sleeps! Do not forget Saint Joseph who sleeps! Jesus slept with the protection of Joseph. Do not forget: families find their rest in prayer. Don not forget to pray for families. Pray often and take the fruits of your prayer into the world, that all may know Jesus Christ and his merciful love. Please pray also for me, for I truly need your prayers and will depend on them always! Thank you very much!

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