NAGA City, Sept. 21, 2015–Coming from a country all to0 familiar with disasters, the head of the Philippine Church’s social action arm has expressed solidarity with the people of Chile, through Bishop Pedro Mario Ossandón Buljevic of Caritas Chile, who were affected by the devastation wrought by the 8.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on Sept. 16.
“Deeply shocked to learn of the great magnitude that forced the evacuation of more than one million people fleeing from the buildings, houses, leaving blocked roads and streets, wreckage and ruins along the Chilean coastline, we pray, at this time of trauma and devastation, for the effective coordination and leadership in your country, as well as the relief and solidarity mobilization effort of Caritas Chile to provide for the needs of affected communities and families as soon as possible,” said Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, national director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (NASSA)/ Caritas Philippines, in a letter to Buljevic.
On behalf of Filipinos, the Cáceres prelate has pledged prayers and support for immediate and medium-term food and material needed for the relief and rehabilitation of the affected communities, as well as for the capacity-building of the Church institution and staff to strengthen the communities.
“Our hearts and prayers go, especially to the affected families and communities in the streets, those in uncertainty searching for family members, those in need of basic services and shelter as well as victims and their families,” he said.
Paying it forward
Tirona went on to recall the time when Filipinos themselves had to face a similar emergency situation in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013, but managed to rise again, thanks to the generosity of Caritas Internationalis and its member organizations worldwide through solidarity and concrete support.
“Our country also being located in an earthquake zone, you are very close to our hearts,” he assured his Chilean counterpart.
According to Tirona, the people of Chile will always remain in the prayers for the “Peace and Love of Jesus Christ.” (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)