‘Each child is a gift’

Thrilling Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to celebrate mass at Rizal Park in what could be the world’s biggest papal gatherings. AFP PHOTO

Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to celebrate mass at Rizal Park in what could be the world’s biggest papal gatherings. AFP PHOTO

Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to Filipinos to protect “the unity and beauty of our human family,” reminding the faithful that each child is a gift that should be cherished.

In his homily at the historic Mass at Luneta (Rizal Park in Manila), the pontiff told a crowd of around six million people to hold on to their identity “as God’s adopted children.”

“We need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected. And we need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to life on the streets,” Francis said.

His message carried a more poignant meaning because Sunday was the feast day of the Santo Nino or Child Jesus.

The Pope said the Filipinos’ devotion to the Santo Nino should prompt them to spread the word of Christ.

“Just like the Child Jesus needed to be protected by his earthly father, Saint Joseph, from King Herod, so do children, and families, need to be protected,” the Holy Father added.

“For children, as the Lord tells us, have their own wisdom, which is not the wisdom of the world. That is why the message of the Santo Niño is so important. He speaks powerfully to all of us. He reminds us of our deepest identity, of what we are called to be as God’s family,” he said.

He, however, noted that the family is threatened by corruption and ignorance.

Pope Francis talks to a child drenched by the rain after celebrating mass. AFP PHOTO

Pope Francis talks to a child drenched by the rain after celebrating mass. AFP PHOTO

“Sadly, in our day, the family all too often needs to be protected 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 said.

These threats include “social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.”

Pope Francis observed that when faced with “troubles, difficulties and wrongs,” the faithful may be “tempted to give up.”

“It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal. But the Bible tells us that the great threat to God’s plan for us is, and always has been, the lie. The devil is the father of lies. Often he hides his snares behind the appearance of sophistication, the allure of being ‘modern,’ ‘like everyone else.’ He distracts us with the promise of ephemeral pleasures, superficial pastimes. And so we squander our God-given gifts by tinkering with gadgets; we squander our own money on gambling and drink; we turn in on ourselves,” he said.

But according to the Pope, Filipinos should always remember that they are “children of God.”

“The Apostle tells us that because God chose us, we have been richly blessed. God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. These words have a special resonance in the Philippines for it is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia,” he said.

Pope Francis commended Filipinos for showing the world their unshakeable faith and compassion in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

“We saw a beautiful expression of this when Filipinos rallied around our brothers and sisters affected by the typhoon,” he said.


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  1. Pope Francis message that “Each child is a gift that should be protected” is nice. I am sure that he means well. Except, he forgot to tell us HOW each child could be protected. While the Roman Catholic Church continues to preach its misguided doctrine of unrestricted procreation, none in the Vatican has come up with a solution on how to clothe, feed, shelter and educate the millions of poor children in every nook and corner of the Philippines. A beautiful homily will not fill the empty belly of a slum child.

    From a population of just 28.5 million in 1960, the Philippines is bursting at seams now with 101 million people, twenty five million of whom survive on just 60 cents or less a day. Fifty four percent of Filipinos today consider themselves poor. There are twenty to thirty thousand street children in Metro Manila, many of whom were rounded-up and caged according to reports, during the visit of Pope Francis, to make the streets of MM more presentable. Tens of thousands of Filipino children suffer from malnutrition and diseases and many die before reaching the age of five. Many Filipino children suffer in silence as molested victims of pedophile priests, yet the Vatican has not even made an apology.

    To speak of compassion to children is nice, but without action, it rings hallow. To show compassion, the first step is to encourage couples to practice responsible parenthood. They should have the right number of children they can afford to feed, clothe, educate and give shelter to. It is only through a well-designed, well-funded RH law that Filipino couples could plan their families responsibly. A child too many is not a gift – if he or she will just end up dead due to hunger and disease.

    • the HOW is for us. you don’t expect the Pope to feed and educate your children not even to teach you how to. we are all given choices and intellect. it’s how you use them that matters.

  2. Very good report. Bu you failed to mention the hint the Pope made that the government of the Filipinos today worked against the majority’s Catholic culture and beliefs by bribing Congress to pass the Reproductive Health Act as desired by the US and Western European leaders,

    • apolonio reyes on

      Tama ka Crez. ang kapal ng mukha nila Hontiveroz, Janet Garin, Belmonte, Drillon etc.,who sponsored the RH Bill and signed into law by Pnoy. Ang kapal naman ng mukha nilang pumunta sa Malacanang ng bigyan ni Pnoy ng honor si Pope Francis, di ba Bayan?

  3. Our Catholic faith teaches us that “every child is a gift”. Pope Francis reminded us of it. Yet this Abnoy is the lead child butcher in our country by his passing the RH Law. The Holy Father is aware of the evil of the Abnoy and his cohorts. That is why he never embraced the Abnoy with love and fondness, like he did Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Villegas.

    I saw the look of the Holy Father when the Abnoy and Binay approached him after the mass. It was not a look of recognition even. He just looked at the Abnoy just like he looked at a distant scenery. Serves the Abnoy right!

    • apolonio reyes on

      Tama ka Guadalupe, ang ganda at ang saya naming nanunuod ng tv at naluluha sa galak NAKINIG NG MISA at bigla kamin NALUNGKOT NG BIGLANG UMIKSENA SILA PNOY AT BINAY. NASIRA ANG BUONG ARAW NAMIN. KAYO BAYAN?