Prelate to media: Be voice of mercy, compassion

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TACLOBAN City, Dec. 22, 2014 — Identifying the media as collaborators of the Roman Catholic Church in ensuring the success of the papal visit in the Palo Archbishop John Du called on the members of the local media to be “the voice of mercy and compassion”.

“The success of the coming of the Holy Father will depend on how you are going to spread the updates on the preparation,” Du told the media during a press briefing this morning at the Chancery of the Archdiocese in Palo, Leyte.

Fr. Amadeo Alvero, spokesperson and social communications director of the Archdiocese of Palo, likewise asked to the media to encourage the people to attend the papal mass, which will be held on Jan. 17, 10 a.m. at the DZR Airport.The prelate described the media as the church’s partners and mouthpiece, underscoring the role they will play during the coming visit of Pope Francis.

In some parishes, priests continually remind churchgoers to register for the papal mass or submit their registration forms for proper documentation and distribution of their respective IDs. While some parishes in the Archdiocese of Palo set their deadline on Christmas day, the Diocese of Borongan’s deadline of registration is on Dec. 29.

According to Alvero, there are some parishioners who are reluctant to register on account of the restrictions set by the Papal Visit committee on security and public order.

“The restrictions are not there to scare us but to prepare us,” Alvero stressed who reiterated that those who would like to attend the papal mass should be physically fit. Among these restrictions he mentioned were the banning of umbrellas, bladed objects and bottled water.

In a separate interview, Msgr. Rex Ramirez, the vicar-general of the Archdiocese and executive secretary of the steering committee of the Papal Visit to the Archdiocese of Palo, clarified that the prohibition in bringing umbrellas is not only for security reasons, in that the pointed end of the umbrella could injure people nearby, but also to facilitate everyone’s participation in the Mass.

“The one using the umbrella must also consider the person next to him or her, that he might block the person of his view of the Pope during Mass,” he said, adding that during rainfall, using umbrellas in such congested areas will most likely get more people wet. “Raincoats could be better protection from rain,” he added.

Alvero, in an earlier press briefing, likewise encouraged people who will attend the papal Mass to use caps instead of umbrellas and transparent bags so that the inspection will not take long.

Du expressed optimism that the Pope’s visit will be “an occasion for us to renew and strengthen our faith, a challenge for us to have a heart for the poor, to be humble, to be simple.”

“That is what should be, what we are supposed to do with our lives,” he said, “We are not here for ourselves (but) for the others, especially for those in need.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)