Disabled to have special access to Mass with Pope
MANILA, Philippines—Persons with disabilities (PWDs) will have special access to the Mass at the Luneta which Pope Francis will celebrate when he comes to the country in January.
“No ticket will be sold for any event in relation to the papal visit, but to emphasize the theme of mercy and compassion, there are certain individuals who will be given special identification cards, special entrance during the Luneta Mass,” said Fr. Marvin Mejia, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary general, during the first weekly press briefing for the papal visit on Thursday.
“Aside from the bishops, PWDs will have special access to the event. We’re asking each of the 86 archdioceses and dioceses to send five PWDs from their respective jurisdictions and to provide logistics, including accommodations and transportation, so they can join the Luneta Mass,” Mejia said.
Each archdiocese and diocese will be asked to send 20 priests and five PWDs or those belonging to the poor sector to the Luneta Mass on Jan. 18, which will formally conclude Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to the country before he heads back to the Vatican the following day.
4-6 million expected
Authorities expect 4 to 6 million people at the Eucharistic celebration at the Luneta.
The Catholic Church, meanwhile, said it was accepting donations in cash and in kind for the papal visit.
“The Church is open to accepting donations from individuals, families and institutions to help defray the expenses for the visit,” said Fr. Anton Pascual, chair of the papal visit media relations subcommittee and president of Church-run Radio Veritas.
“But it’s important that we follow the request of the Vatican not to spend a lot for the Pope’s visit, and the Pontiff would prefer that the money benefit the poor and the victims of calamities, including survivors of Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ and the Bohol earthquake,” Pascual added.
A source, who refused to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said they were trying to limit the expenses for the papal visit to P70 million.
Those who wish to make a donation may address their checks to “RCAM-Papal Visit” and deposit them in the following bank accounts: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) current account No. 0051-0556-75 or Security Bank (SB) savings account No. 0061-015085-001.
Donors are then advised to call the Papal Visit Finance Committee at tel. 5272995 so their donations could be properly acknowledged.
Donors will automatically receive a souvenir since the receipt to be issued to them will be a commemorative receipt bearing the official logo of the Papal Visit 2015.
Donations in kind will also be accepted.
Mejia said the Church needed things “like LCD screens, that is one of the expenses the Church would have.”
No fundraising in dioceses
“There are many aspects of the papal visit that we need funding for, but as mentioned, this should not be a fundraising event. The bishops are also donating from their own pockets, from their own personal accounts, not from the dioceses because there is no fundraising in the dioceses,” Mejia said.
“The Papal Visit Finance Committee is coming up with a budget and a summary of what the needs are,” he added.
He said the finance committee is also coming up with a project and a list of the things needed for the papal visit.
Pope Francis will be in the country from Jan. 15 to 19.
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