Saturday, January 17, 2015

LIVE Pope Francis with Youth in Philippines #PopeinPH - Video - Full Text

Pope Francis meets with the Youth at the Sports Field of Santo Tomas University in Manila. Papal Visit - Philippines 2015 
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with young people on the campus of Santo Tomàs University in Manila, Philippines, on Sunday morning, hearing their stories and leading them in prayer. Departing from his prepared text, the Holy Father addressed the young people in Spanish, with his translator from the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Mark Miles, providing English translation. Below, please find a transcript of the translation of the Holy Father's remarks. *************************************** Video Below
Dear Young Friends,  When I speak spontaneously I do it in Spanish, because I don’t know the English language. May I do it? Thank you very much. This Fr Mark, a good translator.
First of all, a sad piece of news. Yesterday, as Mass was about to start, a piece of scaffolding fell and, upon falling, hit a young woman who was working in the area and she died. Her name is Kristel. She worked for the organisation preparing for that Mass. She was 27 years old, young like yourselves. She worked for Catholic Relief Services as a volunteer. I would like all of you who are young like her to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we will pray to Our Mother in Heaven. Let us pray.
(Prays) Hail Mary…
Let us also pray for her parents. She was an only child. Her mother is coming from Hong Kong and her father is here in Manila.
(Prays) Our Father…
It is a joy for me to be with you this morning. I greet each of you from the heart, and I thank all those who made this meeting possible. During my visit to the Philippines, I wanted in a particular way to meet with young people, to listen to you and to talk with you. I want to express the love and the hopes of the Church for you. And I want to encourage you, as Christian citizens of this country, to offer yourselves passionately and honestly to the great work of renewing your society and helping to build a better world.
In a special way, I thank the young people who have offered words of welcome to me.
To Jun and Leandro Santos II and to Rikki, thank you very much. There’s only a very small representation of girls among you. Too little. Women have much to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes we are too “machistas” and we don’t allow enough space to women. But women can see things from a different angle to us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions we men are unable to understand. Look out for this fact: she is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer. She couldn’t put it into words but expressed it with tears. So when the next pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls.
I thank you Jun for talking about your experience so bravely. As I said, the heart of your question has no reply. Only when we too can cry about the things you said can we come close to answering that question. Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You expressed something like this. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor. But if Christ had had that kind of compassion he would have greeted a couple of people, given them something, and walked on. But it was only when he was able to cry that he understood something of our lives. Dear young boys and girls, today’s world doesn’t know how to cry. The emarginated people, those left to one side, are crying. Those who are discarded are crying. But we don’t understand much about these people in need. Certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears. I invite each one here to ask yourself: have I learned how to weep? Have I learned how to weep for the emarginated or for a street child who has a drug problem or for an abused child? Unfortunately there are those who cry because they want something else.
This is the first thing I want to say: let us learn how to weep as she has shown us today and let us not forget this lesson. The great question of why so many children suffer, she did this in tears. The response that we can make today is: let us really learn how to weep.
In the Gospel, Jesus cried for his dead friend, he cried in his heart for the family who lost its child, for the poor widow who had to bury her son. He was moved to tears and compassion whe n he saw the crowds without a pastor. If you don’t learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian. This is a challenge. When they posed this question to us, why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry.
Then came Leandro Santos II and his question. He also posed a good question: the world of information. Today, with so many means of communication we are overloaded with information. Is that bad? No. It is good and can help. But there is a real danger of living in a  way that we accumulate information. We have so much information but maybe we don’t know what to do with that information. So we run the risk of becoming museums of young people who have everything but not knowing what to do with it. We don’t need young museums but we do need holy young people. You may ask me: Father, how do we become saints? This is another challenge. It is the challenge of love. What is the most important subject you have to lean at university? What is most important subject you have to learn in life? To learn how to love. This is the challenge that life offers you: to learn bow to love. Not just to accumulate information without knowing what to do with it.. But through that love let that information bear fruit.
For this the Gospel offers us a serene way forward: using the three languages of the mind, heart and hands – and to use them in harmony. What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put  it into practice. Harmoniously.  What you think, you feel and you do. Feel what you think and feel what you do. Do what you think and what you feel. The three languages...
Can you repeat this? To think. To feel. To do. And all in harmony... 
Real love is about loving and letting yourself be loved. It’s harder to let yourself be loved than to love. That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. We can love Him but we must let ourselves be loved by Him. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you. The love that surprises us. If you only have information you are not surprised. Love surprises because it opens a dialogue of loving and being loved. God is a God of surprise because He loved us first. God awaits us to surprise us. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God. Let us not have a computer psychology that makes us think we know it all. All answers on computers - but no surprises. The challenge of love. God reveals himself through surprises.
Think of St Matthew. He was a good banker. But he let people down because he imposed taxes against his own people to give to the Romans. He was full of money. Jesus passed by, looked at him and said: “Follow me”. He couldn’t believe it. It you have the opportunity, see Caravaggio’s picture of him. Jesus calls him and those around say: “Him? He betrayed us! He is no good! He hoards money!” But the surprise of being loved overcomes him. The day when Matthew left home for work, saying goodbye to his wife, he couldn’t imagine he would come home without money and have to prepare a feast for the one who loved him first. God surprised Matthew more than the money he had. Allow yourselves to be surprised by God. Don’t be afraid of surprises. They shake the ground beneath our feet and make us insecure, but they move us forward in the right direction.
Real love allows you to spend yourselves, to leave your pockets empty. Think of St Francis who died with empty hands and empty pockets but with a full heart. Remember: no young museums, and wise young people. To be wise use three languages: think well, feel well and do well. And to be wise allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God. That will guarantee a good life.
Rikki came up with a good plan for what we can do in life with all young people’s activities.
Thank you, Rikki, for what you and your friends do. I’d like to ask you a question: you and your friends help others but do you allow yourselves to receive? Answer in your heart.
In the Gospel we just heard, there was a beautiful phrase, for me the most important of all: Jesus looked at the young man and he loved him. When you see Rikki and his friends you love them because they do good things. Jesus says something very important: you lack one thing. Let us listen to this word in silence: you lack only one thing. (Repeats)
What is it that I lack? To all of you who Jesus loves so much, I ask you: do you allow others to give you from their riches to you who have not? The Sadducees, Doctors of the Law, in the time of Jesus, gave much to the people, they taught the people the law, but they never allowed the people to give them something. Jesus had to come to allow himself to feel compassion and to be loved.
How many young people among you are like this? You know how to give and yet you have ever learned how to receive. You still lack one thing. Become a beggar. This is what you still lack. Learn how to beg. This isn’t easy to understand. To learn how to beg. To learn how to receive with humility. To learn to be evangelized by the poor, by those we help, the sick, orphans, they have so much to give us. Have I learned how to beg? Or am I self-sufficient? Do I think I need nothing? Do you know you too are poor? Do you know your own poverty and your need to receive? Do you let yourselves be evangelised by those you serve? This is what helps you mature in your commitment to give to others. Learn how to open your hand from your very own poverty.
There are some points I have prepared. The first, I already told you: to learn how to love and to learn how to be loved. There is a challenge  which is a challenge of u. This is not only because your country more than many others is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. There is the challenge, the concern for the environment. And finally, there is the challenge for the poor, to love the poor, with your bishops. Do you think of the poor? Do you feel with the poor? Do you do something  for the poor? Do you ask the poor to give you the wisdom they have?
This is what I wish to tell you all today. Sorry if I haven’t read what I prepared for you but there is a phrase that consoles me: that reality is superior to ideas. The reality that you have is superior to the paper I have in front of me. Thank you very much. Pray for me!
Pope Francis

RIP Kristel Padasas Killed after Pope Francis' Mass in Philippines due to Storm

(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi SJ, has confirmed that Pope Francis has been informed of the death of a woman during his Mass earlier today in Leyte, Philippines. 27-year-old Kristel Mae Padasas, died after the collapse of a piece of scaffolding by the stage where the Mass was celebrated. She had worked with the Catholic Relief Service during Typhoon Yolanda. Pope Francis will be sending his condolences to her family. According to the health official, the incident happened after the Mass when the woman and her group passed by the altar where the Pope gave his homily. Because of the strong winds brought about by tropical storm “Amang,” the scaffold fell and hit the woman’s head, fracturing her skull. She was immediately sent to a private hospital but died later on. (Image source Google Images)'

The Pope meets the father of the volunteer who died in Tacloban Vatican City, 18 January 2015 (VIS) – Immediately after his return to the apostolic nunciature yesterday around midday local time, the Pope had a long meeting with the father and cousin of Kristel Padasas, the volunteer who died yesterday in Tacloban following his visit, according to information provided by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. “It was an emotional encounter that lasted over twenty minutes, with Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle as interpreter. The father said that he was shocked but consoled by the knowledge that his daughter had been able to prepare for the people's encounter with the Pope. The Holy Father unsuccessfully attempted to contact the mother in Hong Kong by telephone; she will arrive in Manila tomorrow”.

Today's Mass Readings : Saturday January 17, 2015

Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot
Lectionary: 310

Reading 1HEB 4:12-16

The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (see John 6:63c) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

AlleluiaLK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Latest News from Pope Francis #PopeinPH Trip to Philippines

17-01-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 011 

- Francis arrives in Tacloban, fourteen months after the devastation of typhoon Yolanda
- Other Pontifical Acts
- The Pope speaks with journalists on the flight to Manila
- Francis praises the heroic strength of the Filipino people in the face of natural disasters
- Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Cathedral of Manila
- To families: be aware of your calling as Jesus' missionary disciples
- Conclusion of the meeting of presidents of Doctrinal Commissions
- Other Pontifical Acts
Francis arrives in Tacloban, fourteen months after the devastation of typhoon Yolanda
Vatican City, 17 January 2015 (VIS) – On his second day in the Philippines, the Pope transferred by car from the apostolic nunciature of Manila to the Villamor Air Base to depart for Tacloban on the island of Leyte. The papal aircraft took off forty-five minutes before the scheduled time in order to bring forward his visit in view of a tropical storm approaching the coast. Fourteen months ago, on the morning of 8 November 2013, the area was devastated by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which left more than ten thousand victims in its wake and razed all buildings to the ground, including the airport of the city where Francis arrived today.
After an informal welcome from Archbishop John F. Du of Palo and the mayors of Tacloban and Palo, the Pope made the 600-metre journey by Popemobile to an esplanade able to hold half a million people, where he celebrated Mass despite the strong wind and rain. Francis gave the following off-the-cuff homily in Spanish.
“In the first reading, we heard that we have a great priest capable of sympathizing with our weakness, who in every respect has been tempted as we are. Jesus is like us. Jesus lived as we do. He is like us in everything. In everything but sin, for he was not a sinner. But to be even more like us, he took upon himself our sins. He became sin! This is what Paul tells us, and it was something that he knew well. Jesus goes before us always; when we experience any kind of cross, he was already there before us.
“If today all of us are gathered here, fourteen months after the passage of Typhoon Yolanda, it is because we are certain that we will not be disappointed in our faith, for Jesus has gone before us. In his passion He took upon himself all of our sorrows, and – let me tell you something personal – when I witnessed his disaster from Rome, I felt that I had to be here. That is when I decided to come here. I wanted to come to be with you. Maybe you will tell me that I came a little late; that is true, but here I am.
“I am here to tell you that Jesus is Lord; that Jesus does not disappoint. 'Father', one of you may tell me, 'He disappointed me because I lost my house, I lost everything I had, I am sick'. What you say is true and I respect your feelings, but I see Him there, nailed to the cross, and from there He does not disappoint us. He was consecrated Lord on that throne, and there He experienced all the disasters we experience. Jesus is Lord! And He is Lord from the cross, from there He reigned. That is why, as we heard in the first reading, He can understand us: He became like us in every way. So we have a Lord Who is able to weep with us, Who can be at our side through life’s most difficult moments.
“So many of you have lost everything. I do not know what to tell you. But surely He knows what to tell you! So many of you have lost members of your family. I can only be silent; I accompany you silently, with my heart.
“Many of you looked to Christ and asked: Why, Lord? To each of you the Lord responds from His heart. I have no other words to say to you. Let us look to Christ: He is the Lord, and He understands us, for He experienced all the troubles we experience.
“With him, beneath the cross, is His Mother. We are like that child who stands down there, who, in times of sorrow and pain, times when we understand nothing, times when we want to rebel, can only reach out and cling to her skirts and say to her: 'Mother!'. Like a little child who is frightened and says: 'Mother'. Perhaps that is the only word which can express all the feelings we have in those dark moments: Mother!
“Let us be still for a moment and look to the Lord. He can understand us, for He experienced all these things. And let us look to our Mother, and like that little child, let us reach out, cling to her skirts and say to her in our hearts: 'Mother'. Let us make this prayer in silence; let everyone say it whatever way he or she feels.
“We are not alone; we have a Mother; we have Jesus, our older brother. We are not alone. And we also have many brothers and sisters who, when the disaster struck, came to our assistance. We too feel more like brothers and sisters whenever we help one another, whenever we help each other.
“This is all that I feel I have to say to you. Forgive me if I have no other words. But be sure that Jesus does not disappoint us; be sure that the love and tenderness of our Mother does not disappoint us. Clinging to her as sons and daughters with the strength which Jesus our brother gives us, let us now move forward. As brothers and sisters, let us take up our journey. Thank you!”
Following the Eucharistic celebration the Pope left the island four hours before the scheduled time due to the inclement weather conditions and the approaching category two typhoon. He visited a house belonging to fishermen, devastated by the 2013 typhoon, and transferred rapidly to the archiepiscopal residence, situated on a hill at the foot of which there is a home for the elderly and orphans financed by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” and blessed by the Pope today. He lunched briefly with thirty relatives of victims of Yolanda and a number of seminarians, and transferred to the “Pope Francis Centre for the Poor”, which he blessed from the Popemobile. He proceeded directly to the Cathedral of Palo where a meeting was scheduled with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and survivors of the typhoon, and explained to them that the adverse weather conditions would not permit the meeting to go ahead.
“We have just enough time to get to the aeroplane, since the forecasts tell us that the weather will worsen”, he said. “I apologise to all of you. I am so sorry about this, as I had something especially prepared for you. Let us leave everything in the hands of our Lady, as I have to leave now”.
He then transferred to the airport, again by Popemobile to enable him to greet as many people as possible. Finally, the papal aircraft departed for Manila and landed at the Villamor Air Base at 3 p.m. local time. From there, the Pope proceeded to the apostolic nunciature, greeting the faithful along the way.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 17 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines, as his special envoy to the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the “hidden Christians of Japan”, to be held in Nagasaki from 14 to 17 March 2015.
- Msgr. Piotr Turzynski as auxiliary of the diocese of Radom (area 8,000, population 920,000, Catholics 913,100, priests 773, religious 614), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Radom, Poland in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1988. He holds a licentiate in theology and patristic sciences from the Augustinianum Patristic Institute in Rome, and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served as parish vicar in Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, Poland and spiritual director of the major seminary of Radom, and is currently vice-rector of the major seminary of Radom, adjunct professor at the Institute of Church History and Patrology of the Catholic University of Lublin, director of the diocesan Council for the permanent formation of the clergy and the Council for consecrated life, and canon of the Chapter of Skarzysko Kamienna.
16-01-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 010 

The Pope speaks with journalists on the flight to Manila
Vatican City, 15 January 2015 (VIS) – Following the first part of his seventh apostolic trip, on the flight from Colombo to Manila, Pope Francis spent forty minutes answering questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on a number of issues relating not only to his trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but also the attacks in Paris, freedom of worship and expression, security on papal trips and his forthcoming encyclical. This latter, he said, is likely to be completed around the end of March and published in June or July.
The following is a summary of some of the Pope's answers.
On suicide and kamikaze attacks
“Behind every suicide attack there is an element of human imbalance; I do not know if this can be considered mental imbalance, but human. There is something that does not function in this person. He is not balanced in terms of the meaning of his life, of his own life and that of others. He gives his life, but he does not do so in the right way. Many people work – missionaries, for example – giving their own lives, but constructively. This, instead, is self-destruction in order to destroy”.
On security during papal trips and terrorist threats
“The best way to respond is with gentleness. To be gentle, humble. … I worry about the safety of the faithful, and have spoken about this with the Vatican security officials. … Am I afraid? I have a fault, a large dose of recklessness … but I know that it is necessary to take security measures, prudent but sure”.
On freedom of worship and expression
“I believe that these are both fundamental human rights. … We are talking about Paris, let''s be clear. Everyone has the right to practice their own religion freely, without offending. … One cannot offend, make war and kill in the name of their religion, that is, in God's name. What is happening shocks us. But let us think about how many wars there have been in the name of religion, throughout history. … We too are sinners in this respect. But we must not kill in the God's name. This is an aberration. … Every person has not only the freedom, the right, but also the duty to say what he or she thinks in aid of the common good … but without offending. It is true that one should not react violently, but if my friend insults my mother he can expect a punch! It is normal, one should not provoke, one should not insult other people's faith. There is a limit, and there are limits to the freedom of expression”.
Francis praises the heroic strength of the Filipino people in the face of natural disasters
Vatican City, 16 January 2015 (VIS) – This morning, local time, the Pope paid a visit to the Presidential Palace, where he signed the Golden Book and then proceeded to the Music Room, where he was received by Benigno Simeon Conjuangco Aquino III, president of the Republic of the Philippines and his family. Forty-five minutes later the Pope addressed the authorities and the diplomatic corps in the Rizal Ceremonial Hall.
“In a particular way, this visit is meant to express my closeness to our brothers and sisters who endured the suffering, loss and devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda”, he began. “Together with many people throughout the world, I have admired the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others. Those virtues, rooted not least in the hope and solidarity instilled by Christian faith, gave rise to an outpouring of goodness and generosity, especially on the part of so many of the young. In that moment of national crisis, countless people came to the aid of their neighbours in need. At great sacrifice, they gave of their time and resources, creating networks of mutual help and working for the common good.
“This example of solidarity in the work of rebuilding teaches us an important lesson”, he continued. “Like a family, every society draws on its deepest resources in order to face new challenges. Today the Philippines, together with many other countries in Asia, faces the challenge of building on solid foundations a modern society – a society respectful of authentic human values, protective of our God-given human dignity and rights, and ready to confront new and complex political and ethical questions. As many voices in your nation have pointed out, it is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good. In this way they will help preserve the rich human and natural resources with which God has blessed this country. Thus will they be able to marshal the moral resources needed to face the demands of the present, and to pass on to coming generations a society of authentic justice, solidarity and peace”.
Essential to the attainment of these national goals, he explained, “is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor. It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart. The bishops of the Philippines have asked that this year be set aside as the 'Year of the Poor'. I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and inspire concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community”.
A fundamental role in the renewal of society is played “by the family and especially by young people. A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with families and with young people here in Manila. Families have an indispensable mission in society. It is in the family that children are trained in sound values, high ideals and genuine concern for others. But like all God’s gifts, the family can also be disfigured and destroyed. It needs our support. We know how difficult it is for our democracies today to preserve and defend such basic human values as respect for the inviolable dignity of each human person, respect for the rights of conscience and religious freedom, and respect for the inalienable right to life, beginning with that of the unborn and extending to that of the elderly and infirm. For this reason, families and local communities must be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to transmit to our young the values and the vision which can help bring about a culture of integrity – one which honours goodness, truthfulness, fidelity and solidarity as the firm foundation and the moral glue which holds society together.
“Mr President, distinguished authorities, dear friends, as I begin my visit to this country, I cannot fail to mention the Philippines’ important role in fostering understanding and cooperation among the countries of Asia. I would also mention the oft-neglected yet real contribution of Filipinos of the diaspora to the life and welfare of the societies in which they live. It is precisely in the light of the rich cultural and religious heritage of which your country is proud that I leave you with a challenge and a word of prayerful encouragement. May the deepest spiritual values of the Filipino people continue to find expression in your efforts to provide your fellow citizens with an integral human development. In this way, each person will be able to fulfil his or her potential, and thus contribute wisely and well to the future of this country. I am confident that the praiseworthy efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation between the followers of the different religions will prove fruitful in the pursuit of this noble goal. In a particular way, I express my trust that the progress made in bringing peace to the south of the country will result in just solutions in accord with the nation’s founding principles and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities”.
Following his address, Pope Francis proceeded by car to the Cathedral of Manila.
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Cathedral of Manila
Vatican City, 16 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father made the five-kilometre journey from the Presidential Palace to the Cathedral of Manila by car, arriving shortly before 11 a.m. The Cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, is considered the mother of all the churches of the Philippines. The current structure dates from the 1950s when the status of Minor Basilica was granted by St. John Paul II, but the Cathedral has been rebuilt eight times since its initial construction in 1581. It has been destroyed by a typhoon, a fire, various earthquakes, and bombing during the Second World War. It was rebuilt entirely as a result of private donations from major businesses and from the faithful. Closed since 2012, it reopened in April 2014 with a solemn celebration by Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, attended by senior state figures including the president of the Republic, Benigno Aquino III.
The Pope celebrated Mass with the bishops, priests, religious and seminarians of the Philippines, during which he pronounced the following homily:
“'Do you love me? … Tend my sheep'. Jesus’ words to Peter in today’s Gospel are the first words I speak to you, dear brother bishops and priests, men and women religious, and young seminarians. These words remind us of something essential. All pastoral ministry is born of love. All pastoral ministry is born of love! All consecrated life is a sign of Christ’s reconciling love. Like St. Therese, in the variety of our vocations, each of us is called, in some way, to be love in the heart of the Church.
“I greet all of you with great affection. And I ask you to bring my affection to all your elderly and infirm brothers and sisters, and to all those who cannot join us today. As the Church in the Philippines looks to the fifth centenary of its evangelisation, we feel gratitude for the legacy left by so many bishops, priests and religious of past generations. They laboured not only to preach the Gospel and build up the Church in this country, but also to forge a society inspired by the Gospel message of charity, forgiveness and solidarity in the service of the common good. Today you carry on that work of love. Like them, you are called to build bridges, to pasture Christ’s flock, and to prepare fresh paths for the Gospel in Asia at the dawn of a new age.
“'The love of Christ impels us'. In today’s first reading Saint Paul tells us that the love we are called to proclaim is a reconciling love, flowing from the heart of the crucified Saviour. We are called to be 'ambassadors for Christ'. Ours is a ministry of reconciliation. We proclaim the Good News of God’s infinite love, mercy and compassion. We proclaim the joy of the Gospel. For the Gospel is the promise of God’s grace, which alone can bring wholeness and healing to our broken world. It can inspire the building of a truly just and redeemed social order.
“To be an ambassador for Christ means above all to invite everyone to a renewed personal encounter with the Lord Jesus. Our personal encounter with Him. This invitation must be at the core of your commemoration of the evangelisation of the Philippines. But the Gospel is also a summons to conversion, to an examination of our consciences, as individuals and as a people. As the Bishops of the Philippines have rightly taught, the Church in the Philippines is called to acknowledge and combat the causes of the deeply rooted inequality and injustice which mar the face of Filipino society, plainly contradicting the teaching of Christ. The Gospel calls individual Christians to live lives of honesty, integrity and concern for the common good. But it also calls Christian communities to create 'circles of integrity', networks of solidarity which can expand to embrace and transform society by their prophetic witness.
“The poor. The poor are at the centre of the Gospel, are at heart of the Gospel, and if we take away the poor from the Gospel we cannot understand the whole message of Jesus Christ. As ambassadors for Christ, we, bishops, priests and religious, ought to be the first to welcome his reconciling grace into our hearts. St. Paul makes clear what this means. It means rejecting worldly perspectives and seeing all things anew in the light of Christ. It means being the first to examine our consciences, to acknowledge our failings and sins, and to embrace the path of constant conversion, every day conversion. How can we proclaim the newness and liberating power of the Cross to others, if we ourselves refuse to allow the word of God to shake our complacency, our fear of change, our petty compromises with the ways of this world, our 'spiritual worldliness'?
“For us, priests and consecrated persons, conversion to the newness of the Gospel entails a daily encounter with the Lord in prayer. The saints teach us that this is the source of all apostolic zeal. For religious, living the newness of the Gospel also means finding ever anew in community life and community apostolates the incentive for an ever closer union with the Lord in perfect charity. For all of us, it means living lives that reflect the poverty of Christ, whose entire life was focused on doing the will of the Father and serving others. The great danger to this, of course, is a certain materialism which can creep into our lives and compromise the witness we offer. Only by becoming poor ourselves, by becoming poor ourselves, by stripping away our complacency, will we be able to identify with the least of our brothers and sisters. We will see things in a new light and thus respond with honesty and integrity to the challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society which has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarisation and scandalous inequality.
“Here I would like to say address a special word to the young priests, religious and seminarians among us. I ask you to share the joy and enthusiasm of your love for Christ and the Church with everyone, but especially with your peers. Be present to young people who may be confused and despondent, yet continue to see the Church as their friend on the journey and a source of hope. Be present to those who, living in the midst of a society burdened by poverty and corruption, are broken in spirit, tempted to give up, to leave school and to live on the streets. Proclaim the beauty and truth of the Christian message to a society which is tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family. As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.
“Filipino culture has, in fact, been shaped by the imagination of faith. Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary; their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary! This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential. It is the way in which your people has inculturated the Gospel and continues to embrace its message. In your efforts to prepare for the fifth centenary, build on this solid foundation.
“Christ died for all so that, having died in him, we might live no longer for ourselves but for him. Dear brother bishops, priests and religious: I ask Mary, Mother of the Church, to obtain for all of you an outpouring of zeal, so that you may spend yourselves in selfless service to our brothers and sisters. In this way, may the reconciling love of Christ penetrate ever more fully into the fabric of Filipino society and, through you, to the farthest reaches of the world”.
Following the Mass Pope Francis visited a house belonging to the Tulay ny Kabataan Foundation, which provides assistance to street children. He conversed with around three hundred of the children during his twenty-minute visit, during which he was moved by their gifts and displays of affection. He then returned to the apostolic nunciature to dine and to take an hour's rest.
To families: be aware of your calling as Jesus' missionary disciples
Vatican City, 16 January 2015 (VIS) – At 5 p.m. local time the Pope proceeded to the Mall of Asia Arena to meet with families, the third scheduled event in his visit to the Filipino capital. He made the six-kilometre journey in the Popemobile so as to be able to greet the multitude of faithful who lined the streets. The Mall of Asia Arena is an indoor sports stadium, opened in 2012 and able to hold twenty thousand people, and belongs to the SM chain of shopping centres which broadcast the meeting with the Pope live to all its cinemas. The songs, testimonies, readings and floral tributes to the Holy Father were the culminating moments of the event, during which he addressed a discourse to those present.
“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 and have shared their life of faith with us.
“The Scriptures seldom speak of St. 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, and to reflect with you on the gift of the family.
“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: resting in the Lord, rising with Jesus and Mary, and 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. 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 for prayer. But you may say to me: Holy Father, 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. 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. 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! That is why families are so important in God’s plan for the Church!
“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 St. Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act. Faith does not remove us from the world, but draws us more deeply into it. 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. 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.
“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 situation has 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. 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.
“Our world needs good and strong families to overcome these threats! The Philippines need 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 St. John Paul II often said, passes through the family. So 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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”.
Following the meeting, the Pope retired to the apostolic nunciature, where he dined privately and spent his second night in the Philippines.
Conclusion of the meeting of presidents of Doctrinal Commissions
Vatican City, 16 January 2015 (VIS) – From 13 to 15 January the superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the presidents or representatives of the Doctrinal Commissions of the European Episcopal Conferences at the St. Adalbert Centre in Esztergom, Hungary. It was attended by, among others, Cardinal Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria S.J., secretary of the same dicastery, and representatives of the various doctrinal commissions.
The meeting began with the reading of a letter from Pope Francis addressed to the participants, in which he emphasised that the initiative sought to enhance the role of local Episcopates, and in particular their Doctrinal Commissions, “in their responsibility for the unity and integrity of the faith” and its transmission to the young. With reference his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, the Pope expresses in his letter his hope that the meeting will will contribute to finding a collegial solution to the many doctrinal and pastoral difficulties that exist in present-day Europe, and inspire in the faithful “a new missionary zeal and greater openness to the transcendent dimension of life, without which Europe risks losing the very 'humanistic spirit' that it loves and defends”.
During the three-day meeting, which was characterised by cordiality and a spirit of affective and effective collegiality, a number of issues were considered in relation to the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel as the primary task of the Church in Europe, questions posed by gender theory, Christian anthropology and religious freedom, and the practical issues linked to the new evangelisation, the sacrament of reconciliation and the functioning of the Doctrinal Commission.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 16 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Fr. José Maria Balina as auxiliary of Buenos Aires (area 203, population 2,944,000, Catholics 2,696,000, priests 782, permanent deacons 10, religious 1,951), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959, and was ordained a priest in 1989. He has served as parish vicar in the parishes of “Inmaculada Concepcion”, “San Pablo Apostol”, and “La Sagrada Eucaristia”, and parish priest of the parishes of “Resurreccion del Senor” and “San Isidro Labrador”. He is a member of the presbyteral council of the archdiocese of Buenos Aires,
- Bishop Nicholas James Samra of Newton of the Greek-Melkites, U.S.A., as apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the eparchy of Nuestra Senora del Paraiso en Mexico of the Greek-Melkites.

Pope Francis meets Faithful in Cathedral but has to leave early...

Pope Francis delivering his speech inside the Cathedral of Palo - AP
17/01/2015 05:32

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made a very brief stop at Tacloban cathedral in the Philippines on Saturday, ahead of his departure from the island of Leyte. The Holy Father's departure was anticipated by four hours, due to the arrival of inclement weather. Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and families affected by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, were scheduled to meet with the Holy Father in the cathedral. Pope Francis was visitng Tacloban, on the island of Leyte, to show solidarity with the people there, who were sorely tried by the destruction caused by the storm. Please find raw audio and a transcript of the Holy Father's remarks, below.
Click below to hear the Holy Father's words at Tacloban cathedral
Pope Francis: Thank you for your very warm welcome. The cardinal walking in now together with Cardinal Tagle is the Cardinal Secretary of State, Carinal Parolin, and it is his birthday.  Will you sing him something?
[Crowd sings birthday greetings] Thank you.
I have to tell you something that makes me unhappy: the problem is that the way things were planned was that the plane would leave at 5pm this afternoon. But there’s a second grade typhoon, or storm that’s around us and the pilot of the plane has insisted we have to leave at 1pm. We just have time to get to the plane because the weather forecast says after 1pm it will get much worse. So I apologise to all of you.
I am so sorry about this because I had something especially prepared for you. Let us leave everything in the hands of our Lady because I have to go now. Do you know what the problem is? Airplanes can’t land here, that’s the problem.
Let’s pray the “Hail Mary” together and then I will give you my blessing.