ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Poverty, unemployment, natural disasters: trouble seems never ending for the Philippines: in his Christmas Message the Archbishop of Manila recalls Christian hope

Wednesday, 22 December 2004

Manila (Fides Service) - “Christmas is always our recalling of God’s love for us expressed in his son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. But its celebration is influenced yearly by prevailing spiritual, economic, social and political conditions in the country. Natural calamities, escalating poverty, personal and regional tragedies influence the mood the celebration as we are today”. This statement was part of a Christmas Message issued by Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales of Manila a copy of which was sent to Fides.
The Philippines is still suffering the consequences of the tropical depression which hit the eastern part of Luzon in early December, killing more than 1,500 people and making thousands homeless. The typhoon was the worst in 50 years.
The country is grappling with a difficult operation of financial improvement to overcome deficits and fight unemployment. President Gloria Arroyo, elected in May this year, at the beginning of her six year mandate faces also the challenge of national reconciliation which passes by way of reopening negotiations with Islamic separatists and communist rebels.
Referring to this situation the Archbishop spoke of hope: “Indeed we find ourselves searching for pockets of joy in our lives or shifting our measure and kind of happiness to give meaning to our greeting of Marry Christmas”.
The Archbishop encourages the people: “There is hope when humans seek Peace in the ways of Jesus. This is what Christmas is whispering to us even in the darkness and after the tempest and the sorrow are gone. Christmas is always upon us. Hope is ours ”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 22/12/2004 righe 29 parole 239)