Pope blesses Philippine saint’s mosaic

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle led the prayers and spoke not only of the suffering caused by super-typhoon Haiyan, but also of the faith and love evident in its aftermath.

November 26 2013, 6:44 PM
Pope blesses Philippine saint’s mosaic
Pope blessing Philippine saint’s mosaic as Cardinal Tagle looks upon.

Pope Francis on Thursday blessed a mosaic of the Philippine's teenage Saint Pedro Calungsod in St. Peter's Basilica and it will later be kept in the crypt under the basilica.

Pedro Calungsod, a sacristan and catechist who was martyred in 1672 in Guam, was declared a saint in Rome in October 2012.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, led the prayers and spoke not only of the sorrow and suffering caused by super-typhoon Haiyan, but also of the faith, love and solidarity evident in its aftermath.

In times of suffering, prayer is of even more help, Pope Francis said, assuring the Filipino people of his prayers. The Pope, who has contributed $150,000 to relief efforts, also asked that a collection for the victims of the typhoon be taken up at the closing Mass of the Year of Faith in the Vatican on Sunday, November 24.

Jason Elias Tolentino, communications chief for Caritas Philippines -National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (NASSA), said from Philippines that the tragedy did not kill hope.

Even the poorest in Philippines are helping the Typhoon Haiyan victims, who are rebuilding their lives with the material and moral support of their compatriots, including those affected by past natural disasters. Families affected by the Bohol earthquake, Typhoon Bopha and Muslims in Mindanao are helping charities and other organisations.

Every day volunteers come back from the field with many touching stories that boost their spirit of charity, NASSA's communications chief said.

Tolentino said that without people's charity and faith, reconstruction would not be possible. A touching example of their faith was displayed on Sunday when thousands of people attended the ordination Mass of three young priests at Tacloban cathedral, which lies in ruin.

"People are finding hope and becoming aware of their capabilities and resources," Tolentino said, "from seeing volunteers from all over the country coming to the devastated regions to offer help and support to the victims of the typhoon."

According to CBCP-NASSA data, almost 11 million people in 574 towns and cities suffered various damages and losses in Typhoon Haiyan that struck the central Philippines on November 8.

NASSA, Caritas International and local churches has set up programmes to distribute aid across nine provinces in Panay, Cebu and Palawan Islands. The affected region's size and its many, sometimes remote, islands still represent a serious obstacle to intervention.

Source: Vatican Radio & AsiaNews