Pope Francis hugs Tagle; prays for storm-hit PH

Agence France-Presse
Pope Francis prays for the Philippines in a ceremony with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

‘SOLIDARITY IN HARDSHIP.’ Pope Francis hugs Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during a ceremony to bless the new image of Holy Pedro Calungsod of Philippines at St Peter's basilica on November 21, 2013 at the Vatican. All photos by Tiziana Fabi/AFP

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis prayed Thursday, November 21, for the victims of typhoon-ravaged Philippines at a ceremony to mark the unveiling of a mosaic image of the country’s youngest saint in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The ceremony was attended by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, who helped coordinate aid efforts after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which left over 4,000 people dead and 4.4 million homeless.

In a gesture of solidarity, the Pope hugged Tagle during the ceremony. 

“I have been close to your people, I have seen how great the pain has been but also how strong the people have been,” Francis said in an improvised speech.

“Faith emerged from the ruins, it came from solidarity in the moment of hardship,” he added.

“In the moment of hardship, we ask why some things happen. In those moments of suffering, questioning prayers that do not ask for explanations but beg the Lord to accompany us are the most useful,” he said.

Pedro Calungsod, a 17th-century Filipino who was martyred at 17-years-old, was made a saint by Francis’s predecessor Benedict XVI last year.

Calungsod became the second saint in the country, where between 80% and 90% of the population are Catholic.

He was killed on the island of Guam in 1672 while trying to convert the local inhabitants and is considered the patron saint of the young in the Philippines.
The mosaic of his image depicts the saint as a young man with a martyr’s palm pressed to his chest.

Francis is expected to call on pilgrims on Sunday to donate money to help rescue efforts in the storm-hit country at a ceremony to mark the end of the Vatican’s “Year of Faith.” – Rappler.com

IMAGE UNVEILING. Pope Francis waves next to Filipino cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during a ceremony to bless the new image of Holy Pedro Calungsod of Philippines at St Peter's basilica on November 21, 2013 at the Vatican.