Catholic and other humanitarian agencies prepared for another potentially devastating storm in the central Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit continued to gain strength and approached the same region devastated 13 months ago.
Philippine church and government leaders are preparing the country for Pope Francis' visit with spiritual guidance for the faithful and precautions about crowd control.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said the synod was more than divorce and gay unions -- the impact of poverty was a major concern.
The church must widen its reach to gays and divorced Catholics, said the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, in an Oct. 21 statement after the Synod of Bishops on the family, called for a merciful approach to ministering to the faithful by emulating Christ and not casting stones at sinners.
Catholic aid agencies were involved in efforts to help people who were flooded out of their homes by a tropical storm in the northern Philippines.
A downpour inundated Manila and surrounding communities for 24 hours starting Thursday evening. Forecasters expected that the heavy rain would continue through Saturday.
Emergency response officials said 25 percent of the capital region was under water and nearly 500,000 people were affected by the twin impact of Tropical Storm Fung-Wong and late-summer monsoons.
Thousands rally at signature drive for a petition to eliminate lump-sum budgeting that prevents transparency in government spending and diverts money from the poor.
"People who are exposed to this virus will feel they are accompanied, that the church suffers with them, the church works for them."
Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka from Jan. 12-15, then spend Jan. 15-19 in the Philippines, the Vatican and Philippines bishops announced Tuesday.
Asian Youth Day, scheduled Aug. 13-17 in South Korea, is a smaller event that the international World Youth Day celebrations, said the Bangladeshi priest organizing the event.
The papal nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, has asked the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines to warn the public about the unauthorized sale of tickets to Masses and events during Pope Francis' visit to the country next year.
In a letter addressed to bishops' conference president Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Pinto talked of the "unpleasant information" the nunciature has received about groups who might wish "to take advantage of the papal visit to exploit innocent people and enrich themselves."