Manila (Fides Service) - Slum dwellers are praying for the Holy Father. Close to the heart of Manila in Quezon City there is the Payatas refuse dump which extends for 25 hectares, the 45 mt high dump is also called ‘smoky mountain’ because of the exhalation due to self-combustion. In this infected heart of the metropolis which has existed since 1945 there are at least 25,000 people living a state of dire poverty and need and if slum dwellers of the nearby Tondo district are included, the number of poor people swells to 100,000.
In this hellish part of the capital Orionini and Vincentian missionaries who operate here in Payatas and Tondo invited the poor inhabitants to join in special prayers for the Pope: “We and all the people wish the Holy Father a speedy recovery with all our heart and our gratitude for all the attention he has for us and for the extremely difficult conditions in which we live”, said Father Bernardo Tao Seo, Orinino missionary, head of the mission of the Sons of Don Orione who for many years have served the people at the refuse dump. “With the Vicentian missionaries in the various chapels in the area we organised special prayer vigils and the response of these wonderful people was extraordinary. They came immediately and in great numbers to pray for John Paul II. Many were children undernourished or stricken with disease, many were little girls who will probably be forced by their parents into prostitution to provide the family with at least one source of income.”
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/02/2005 Righe: 23 Parole: 236)