Manila's Cardinal Tagle shares meal, stories with poor

Catholic Church marks second observance of World Day of the Poor
Manila's Cardinal Tagle shares meal, stories with poor

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila addresses residents of urban poor communities and members of the clergy during the observance of the World Day of the Poor on Nov. 17. (Photo by Mark Saludes)


Church leaders in Manila Archdiocese marked World Day of the Poor on Nov. 17 by sharing a meal with residents from the city's urban poor communities.

At least 300 people attended the "lunch and sharing with the poor" event at the University of Santo Tomas following a Mass officiated by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila. 

In his homily, the Manila prelate called on Catholics not only to listen to the "cries of the poor" but also "to shoulder their struggle in our everyday lives." 

The cardinal said "acts of mercy and compassion" to those in need are the reasons why the church observes the Day of the Poor. 

Pope Francis declared the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time of the church calendar — Nov. 18 this year — as World Day of the Poor for Catholics to "reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel."

Cardinal Tagle in his message said "there will be no celebration if we do not care for [the poor]."

The prelate called on Filipinos to "admit to our own state of destitution," and "to dare listen to the poor and associate ourselves with them."  

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that an estimated 22 million Filipinos or about one-fifth of the population live below the national poverty line. 

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo called on the clergy and the religious to "live the life of the poor and become one of them."

The bishop said efforts to help the poor "can only be strengthened if the church would continue its encounter with them."

At the Vatican, Pope Francis railed against social inequality during this year's observance, saying that "the din of the rich few" was drowning out the voice of the needy.

At a Mass attended by about 6,000 poor people at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the pope noted that, "injustice is the perverse root of poverty."

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