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Vatican wants PHL to spend less on Pope Francis’ visit


The Vatican wants the Philippines to keep to a minimum the expenditures for Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines this coming January, and instead give more resources to help victims of recent calamities, a member of the papal visit organizing committee said on Thursday.
 
Fr. Anton Pascual, media relations sub-committee chairman, said the Vatican wanted the papal visit to be simple and to create savings to rehabilitate areas hit by calamities like super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
 
“He (Pope Francis) wants that whatever graces received in terms of donations be given instead to victims of calamities, especially with the ongoing rehabilitation for Yolanda victims and survivors of the earthquake in Bohol,” an article on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines news site quoted Pascual as saying at a media forum Thursday.
 
A separate article on the Union of Catholic Asian News said Catholic Church leaders would seek to limit expenses for the papal visit to $1.5 million (P67.627 million).
 
According to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Pope Francis wants his visit to the Philippines on January 15 to 19 next year to be “pastoral and simple.”
 
Pope Francis is due to visit the Philippines January 15 to 19.
 
He will have lunch with the poor and the survivors of Yolanda (Haiyan) during his stay.
 
“The call of the Vatican that this visit not be costly is important because the desire of the Holy Father is that donations be given instead to the victims of calamities. That is the primary purpose of his visit,” Pascual said in Filipino.
 
On the other hand, Pascual also said the Church was still open to donations to defray the expenses for the papal visit.
 
“For those who would like to help, individuals and institutions, the Church is accepting donations,” he said.
 
He said donations may be coursed through Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Clemente Ignacio and Palo Archbishop John Du. Both are part of the papal visit finance committee.
 
Yet, CBCP secretary-general Fr. Marvin Mejia cautioned the visit “should not be a fund raising event.”
 
“The bishops are donating from their own pockets and from their own personal account and not from their dioceses because there’s no fundraising in the dioceses,” Mejia said. —Joel Locsin/NB, GMA News
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