Manila: After waiting overnight in the street for papal Mass, Jennifer Roman says "It's worth the wait. It's like a fiesta!"
Luis Antonio Tagle
Pope Francis returns to Asia this week, where crises are priming the ground for the kind of church he is working to grow.
This is the Philippines, where "the Christian story and Christian symbols have played a very important role in everyday life."
Migrants are among the poorest, most vulnerable people in the world, and a church committed to defending strong families must be particularly engaged in assisting migrant couples and their children, a U.S. bishop told a Vatican conference.
"Across the globe, 175 million migrants seek safety and sustenance in an unknown land," Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City told the Vatican-sponsored World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants.
Philippine church and government leaders are preparing the country for Pope Francis' visit with spiritual guidance for the faithful and precautions about crowd control.
With up to 15,000 attendees expected for the gathering of families, organizers are planning hotel and other accommodations plus a full slate of top speakers and activities
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said the synod was more than divorce and gay unions -- the impact of poverty was a major concern.
The separation of married couples is a huge issue in the Philippines and other parts of Asia, not because of divorce but because poverty pushes couples to separate in search of jobs abroad, said Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.
While he hopes the pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried couples is debated openly and with good will, he said he also hopes members of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops give appropriate consideration to the impact of poverty and migration on families and to a host of other issues that help or hinder family life.
"Biblical teaching regarding the family is quite widespread, but there is much work that remains to be done in terms of ... church teaching on marriage."
Among the nonvoting members of 38 observers and 16 experts appointed by the pope, the majority are laymen and laywomen, including 14 married couples.