Wed, Aug 31, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Filipinos pray for love, money via SMS

DPA , MANILA

Prayers for money, jobs and even boyfriends have been flooding a Philippine Catholic Church project allowing Filipinos to send their petitions via text messages from their cellular phones.

The petitions sent to the "Text Mary" project are forwarded for inclusion in the intentions of daily Masses held in churches in Manila and in the prayers of Carmelite nuns, the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper reported.

Filipinos have also been downloading novenas and daily prayers from the Text Mary server by simply texting a keyword.

"Even if people are preoccupied with material things, they're still wanting in prayers," said Noli Yamsuan, an organizer of The Way of Mary Foundation.

Many texters prayed for jobs and financial assistance with one asking divine intervention to win a lottery jackpot and others seeking God's help to find jobs in Canada, New Zealand or the US. One woman appealed to God to make her boyfriend "keep his promise to marry early next year" while another petitioner asked that her friend find a boyfriend within the year.

Each text costs 2.50 pesos (US$0.05). Proceeds from the project will fund church programs, including a fund for poor families.

Organizers have stressed that the Text Mary project was meant to to provide a convenient option for Filipinos who do not have the time to go to church. More than 80 per cent of the Philippines' estimated 84 million people are Roman Catholic.

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