Mission Co-Op Collection for the Philippines—August 9/10
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) hit the central part of the Philippines. It was the worst and most powerful storm ever, which devastated the whole province of Leyte, seat of the Archdiocese of Palo, home of over one million Catholics.
The typhoon claimed thousands of lives within five hours of its monstrous wind at the speed of 235 kilometers per hour which caused sea waves to surge as high as 20 feet onto the mainland.
Houses and practically all buildings including schools, churches, rectories, clinics, and hospitals, and even the domestic airport were either totally wrecked or badly damaged. Over 30,000 coconut trees were uprooted and were cut in half. More than 25,000 boats were swept away.
Of the 76 churches, 70 were smashed to the ground. The seminary (Saint John the Evangelist School of Theology), which houses students training to become priests for the whole ecclesiastical province, was also destroyed beyond repair.
More than six months have passed, and thousands of people are still missing. Those who survived now face the most arduous task of rebuilding and the most painful steps of moving on.
Most of them reside now in makeshift houses or tents. It takes six to 10 years for a coconut tree to bear fruit and become a source of livelihood. Those who depend on fishing badly need boats to make a living.
In response to the people’s plight, Pope Francis has sent help to construct three buildings which will house orphans, the elderly and a medical facility to offer basic medical and health care. Pope Francis plans to come to the Philippines in January 2015 to reach out to those who have lost so much.
Survivors of Yolanda are not just victims of a horrible tragedy. They are our brothers and sisters. Let us help them.
During this July and August, all Filipino priests in active ministry in the Diocese of San Jose will make an appeal in all parishes aimed to help and to support our brothers and sisters as they struggle to move on and to rebuild. Let us reach out.
Holy Spirit will have a second offering for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan next weekend, August 9/10, as part of the Diocese of San Jose Mission Co-Op. The Mission Co-Op Program has a duel purpose: to help support missions financially and also to build solidarity with the poor and needy throughout the world.