Pope Francis made a surprise visit to over 300 rescued street children on Friday, 16 Jan 2015. The children had sent the Holy Father thousands of letters asking him to visit. The ANAK-Tnk Foundation He spent about half an hour with them while they were singing and dancing in joy. The children had made small gifts for the Holy Father, including a wooden image of Our Lady and a photo of the Holy Sacrament amid rubbish for the adoration of group of scavengers. The ANAK center is run by Fr. Mathieu Dauchez , a French priest, it is home to 20 children. The center launched a letter-writing campaign “Even us?” last September asking a visit from the Pope. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, gave a thousand letters from the children, plus a video about their lives, to Pope Francis in Rome in October. Fr Matthieu told the Holy Father: “Those children, the poorest among the poor, are for sure the most vulnerable victims of our society. But they remain masters of joy, as one can see on their smiling faces.” One boy Alvin, aged 10, said: “This is awesome… He gave me such a huge, warm hug.” The ANAK-Tnk Foundation was founded in Manila in 1998. It has helped many thousands of children to escape the streets over the past 16 years. On Sunday, two children from the Foundation will speak before the Pope at a youth meeting.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told families in the Philippines Friday that they should take time to rest and to pray together and to be examples of holiness. On the second day of his five day trip to the Asian archipelago, Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people gathered for a meeting with families that the world “needs good and strong families” to overcome threats of poverty, materialism, destructive lifestyles, and those caused by separation due to migration. In his discourse, delivered at the “Mall of Asia Arena,” Manila’s principle sports arena, the Pope said “the Philippines needs holy and loving families to protect the beauty and truth of the family in God’s plan.”
Below, please find the the full text of the Pope's address
(including his off-the cuff remarks in Spanish which were translated into English)
Dear Families, Dear Friends in Christ, I am grateful for your presence here this evening and for the witness of your love for Jesus and his Church. I thank Bishop Reyes, Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission on Family and Life, for his words of welcome on your behalf. And, in a special way, I thank those who have presented testimonies and have shared their life of faith with us.
FRIAR MINOR AND MARTYR
Feast: January 16
Of the noble family of Leopardi, and a native of Carbio in Umbria, Berard was received into the Franciscan Order by the Seraphic Patriarch himself, in 1213. He was well versed in Arabic, an eloquent preacher, and was chosen by St. Francis, together with two other priests, Peter and Otho, and two lay-brothers, Accursius and Adjutus, to evangelize the infidels of the East. On the conclusion of the Second General Chapter in 1219, St. Francis believed that the time had then come for the religious of his order to extend their apostolic labours beyond the Italian peninsula and Northern Europe; and, choosing for himself and twelve other religious the greater part of Syria and Egypt, he allotted to Berard and his companions the missions of Morocco. The five missionaries set sail from Italy, and after sojourning some time in Spain and Portugal finally arrived in the Kingdom of Morocco. Their open preaching of the Gospel there and their bold denunciation of the religion of Mahomet soon caused them to be apprehended and cast into prison. Having vainly endeavoured to persuade them to abandon the true religion, the Moorish king in a fit of rage opened their heads with his scimitar, and thus were offered to God the first fruits of the blood of the Friars Minor. Berard and his companions were canonized by Sixtus V, in 1481. The feast of the martyrs of Morocco is kept in the order on the 16th of January.