Pope to call for Philippines aid in 'Year of Faith' event

Pope Francis will appeal for donations for the typhoon-wracked Philippines as he winds up the Vatican's "Year of Faith" in a Saint Peter's Square ceremony on Sunday, the Vatican said.

"The pope will ask everyone from cardinals to the simple faithful" to donate aid money for the Philippines, Archbishop Rino Fisichella told a news conference on Monday.

The weekend ceremony, expected to attract tens of thousands of people, will feature the first-ever public display of remains believed to be those of Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ who is considered to be the first pope and founder of the Catholic Church.

The bones were discovered in a 1940 archaeological dig next to an ancient monument honouring Saint Peter. In 1968, Pope Paul VI said scientific tests concluded with "high probability" that the bones were those of Peter.

The "Year of Faith", a Benedict XVI initiative, began on October 11, 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vatican II Council, which approved key Catholic Church reforms.

The project's principle aim was to tackle the decline of religious practice in the developed world, particularly in Europe.