Philippine churches hope training gives momentum to ‘climate warriors’

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Philippine church environmentalists hope to gather momentum after taking training from a U.S. firm to become “climate warriors.” The seminar by former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project was designed to support participants in their talks with lawmakers as they communicate the urgency of climate change with the intent of…

Papal envoy opens eucharistic congress by declaring war on poverty

CEBU, Philippines (CNS) — The 51st International Eucharistic Congress kicked off with Pope Francis’ representative, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, declaring war on poverty. “The Eucharist calls for … a third world war against poverty,” said Cardinal Bo, “a third world war against the cruelty of dogs getting fed with sumptuous, organic food, while…

Philippine bishops tackle climate change during general meeting

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines tackled climate change on different fronts and also addressed a host of other issues, from equitable education to sovereign disputes at its biannual plenary session July 6-13. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, newly re-elected president of the conference, told Catholic News Service that the…

Philippine bishops to decide whether to establish climate change desk

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Philippine bishops meeting in Manila will decide whether or not to establish a “climate change desk,” part of a push by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. The federation wants each bishops’ conference in 22 countries to set up such a desk to support action plans to mitigate the impact of…

Columban priest targets traffickers of children in Philippine ministry

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Arriving in the Philippines from Ireland in 1969 as a young missionary priest, Columban Father Shay Cullen hardly expected he’d end up fighting a burgeoning sex industry. More than 45 years later, despite death threats and confrontations with uncooperative authorities, Father Cullen, 72, continues to patrols bars and hotels to free kids…

Philippine trip highlights pope’s tenacity, attention to details

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — New situations are opportunities to learn new things, even about the 78-year-old Pope Francis. After two days of watching the pope tenaciously keep his appointments in the Philippines despite pouring rain Jan. 17-18, one lesson is that the papal wardrobe needs to be expanded to include rain gear. A white umbrella…

Pope, at Mass with millions, tells Filipinos to protect the family

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Pope Francis told a crowd of at least 6 million gathered in a Manila park to protect the family “against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture.” The pope’s homily at the Jan. 18 Mass…

Pope meets with father, uncle of CRS worker killed in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (CRS) — After praying publicly at a youth gathering for the repose of the soul of a Catholic Relief Services worker killed the previous day, Pope Francis met Jan. 18 with her father and her maternal uncle. Kristel Padasas, 27, of Manila, who worked with a recovery project for victims of Typhoon Haiyan,…

Amid typhoon’s devastation, pope tells survivors they are not alone

TACLOBAN, Philippines (CNS) — Fourteen months after Typhoon Haiyan devastated much of the central Philippines, Pope Francis braved a tropical storm to encourage survivors in their ongoing work of recovery. The weather forced him to leave the area hours ahead of schedule, so he made up for reduced contact with words and gestures of characteristic…

Exuberant crowds greet pope in unofficial welcome to Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Although it was not called a welcoming ceremony, Pope Francis was greeted by government and church officials and an exuberant crowd Jan. 15 at Manila’s Villamor Air Base. The pope arrived 13 minutes earlier than scheduled at the base near Manila’s international airport following a six-hour flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka,…