POPE WATCH: Listen to women, Francis says

AP News
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Posted: Jan 17, 2015 10:47 PM
POPE WATCH: Listen to women, Francis says

Pope Francis is in the Philippines on Sunday, the final full day of a weeklong trip that also took him to Sri Lanka. Here are some glimpses of his visit as it unfolds:

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QUICKQUOTE: "WOMEN HAVE MUCH TO TELL US"

Francis drew applause with these comments to a student audience at the University of Santo Tomas in the morning:

"Women have much to tell us in today's society (applause). Sometimes we're too macho, and we don't leave enough room for women. Women are able to see things with different eyes than us (applause). Women are able to ask questions that men can't understand. ... When the next pope comes, please have more women and girls among your numbers."

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SAD NEWS, SOMBER POPE

Pope Francis opened his meeting with the Filipino youth on a somber note, reporting to thousands gathered at the centuries-old University of Santo Tomas the sad news that a female church volunteer had died during his visit to central Tacloban city the previous day, and led prayers for the woman.

"She was 27 years old, young like yourselves," he said. "She was an only daughter."

He said the woman's mother works in Hong Kong and was returning home awaited by her father.

The woman, whom she identified as Kristel, helped organize the Mass in Tacloban. It was celebrated in a rain- and wind-swept field close to the Tacloban airport.

Police said Kristel Padasas, a volunteer with the Catholic Relief Services, died when scaffolding fell on her. Witnesses said a sudden gust of wind toppled the structure, which served as platform for a large loudspeaker.

Francis cut short his Tacloban visit because of an approaching storm that caused foul weather.

— By Oliver Teves, AP writer, Manila, Philippines — Twitter: twitter.com/seveto

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DOS AND DONTS

With millions expected to descend on Manila's Rizal Park for the final Mass on Pope Francis' trip to the Philippines, the government has put out a public service announcement on what people should do — and not do — to avoid getting hurt.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda unveiled a virtual laundry list of rules:

— Don't bring the elderly, pregnant women and children.

— No bomb jokes that may cause panic. No weapons of any kind.

— Don't wear jewelry or bring excessive money that can attract pickpockets.

— Bring food, water, personal medicines, raincoats, an ID — but NO umbrellas.

— Avoid bringing bags that will take a long time to inspect; best to use transparent plastic ones.

Public Service Announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJBo_Bw5cw4

— By Oliver Teves, AP writer, Manila, Philippines — Twitter: twitter.com/seveto

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THE CROWD GATHERS

A nonstop stream of people is heading toward Rizal Park in downtown Manila this morning, hours before Pope Francis is to celebrate an outdoor Mass that could draw several million.

Some camped outside the park overnight to be the first ones in when the gates opened around 6 a.m.

Many are walking a good distance up Roxas Boulevard, a main street along Manila Bay that has been closed. Others are taking positions behind barricades in hopes of seeing the pope when his motorcade passes later in the day.

Those going to the park carry snacks in clear plastic bags to sustain them through the wait ahead. A few have statues of the infant Jesus, one of the most important icons in the Philippines, as Sunday also marks the feast of Santo Nino.

— By Ken Moritsugu, AP writer, Manila, Philippines — Twitter: twitter.com/kmorit

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STOPPING FOR A FRIEND

One of the events that got cut from Pope Francis' schedule in the central Philippines as he rushed to catch a plane back to Manila was the inauguration of a Vatican-funded shelter for orphans and the elderly.

He couldn't totally skip it, though, in part because a friend, the Rev. John Oh Woong-Jin, is in charge of the project.

So the pope's convoy pulled up in front of the shelter. He blessed it, and had a brief reunion in the driveway with the South Korean Catholic missionary.

In a traditional South Korean gesture of friendship, Oh arched his hands to form the shape of a heart above his head and told the pontiff, "Saranghamnida," or "We love you" in Korean.

Francis gamely returned the gesture, blurting, "Saranghamnida." Then he vanished into the stormy weather.

— By Jim Gomez, AP writer, Tacloban, Philippines — Twitter: twitter.com/JimSGomez

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FATAL ACCIDENT MARS TACLOBAN VISIT

Tragedy struck Pope Francis' visit to the central Philippine city of Tacloban, where he was comforting victims of Typhoon Haiyan, a devastating storm that left more than 7,300 people dead or missing just over a year ago.

Police said a 27-year-old volunteer with Catholic Relief Services who was among about 150,000 people who attended a rain-drenched Mass celebrated by the pope near Tacloban's seaside airport was killed after she was hit by scaffolding.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope inquired about how he could show "his own suffering and solidarity" with the woman's family. Police reports said the woman, who suffered a skull fracture, was an only child.

Francis cut short his visit because of an approaching storm, which brought rains and strong winds to Tacloban.

— By Oliver Teves, AP writer, Manila, Philippines — Twitter: twitter.com/seveto

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PLANE SKIDS OFF RUNWAY; NO INJURIES

Shortly after Pope Francis' plane left Tacloban early to avoid a coming storm, strong crosswinds blew a smaller executive jet off the runway at the same airport.

The 16 people on board included several Philippine Cabinet members who had accompanied Francis to the typhoon-hit region. Everyone on board was safe, said spokesman Eric Apolonio of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

The plane was left stuck in muddy ground after it swerved off a runway while taxiing.

— By Oliver Teves, AP writer, Manila, Philippines — Twitter: twitter.com/seveto

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GROANS OVER AN ABBREVIATED VISIT

The priests and nuns waiting for Pope Francis at a cathedral in the central Philippines must have been a bit surprised when he breezed in without the usual singing and ceremony.

The bigger surprise was yet to come.

Francis took the microphone and, after lightening up the mood with a few words, said, "I'd like to tell you something that displeases me."

He then explained that his plane's pilots insisted he would have to return to Manila almost immediately because of an approaching storm, canceling the rest of Saturday's visit.

"Nohhhhhh," some of the gathered clergy groaned, though in a good-natured way, some smiling despite the unfortunate turn of events.

Francis apologized, and led them in prayer before zipping to the airport.

— By Ken Moritsugu, AP writer, Manila, Philippines_Twitter: twitter.com/kmorit

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EARLY RETURN TO MANILA

Francis returned to Manila from typhoon-hit Tacloban city in mid-afternoon, about four hours ahead of schedule.

On the advice of the pilots, he decided to fly back from Tacloban early because of an approaching storm, curtailing his remaining events there.