For US bishops, it’s time to give back to Filipinos

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US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ president and Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz during a Mass at the CBCP chapel in Manila on Monday.

MANILA, Feb. 3, 2014— US Catholic bishops are once again hoping to give back to Filipinos that made their parishes alive because of their presence. 

When US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz arrived in Manila on Monday, he assured his Filipino counterpart of their commitment to help the typhoon victims in Eastern Visayas. 

“I served as and in every parishes in the US and our best parishioners are from the Philippines so naturally it’s good to be able in solidarity them,” said Kurtz, the archbishop of Louisville. 

With more than four million people, the Filipino diaspora make up the second largest Asian-American community in the US. 

The USCCB chief is currently in the Philippines to visit typhoon-ravaged communities and make a first-hand look into the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in Leyte on Tuesday until Thursday. 

He will be accompanied by CRS Chairman of the Board and Oklahoma Archbishop Paul Coakley, Sr. Carol Keehan, President of Catholic Health Association, and CRS president Carolyn Woo. 

“I hope to talk to some people and also to see some of the steps that have been taken especially with the local Caritas that we are cooperating with,” Kurtz said. 

“We see this as being one Church working together for the good of the people and we are very grateful because in the US there are so many Filipino families who have roots and family members here,” he said. 

On Monday, Kurtz also met with Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, together with some officials of CRS and Caritas International. 

CRS, the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the US, has earlier pledged to raise US$50 million for the recovery and rehabilitation programs. 

The typhoon has displaced more than four million people – about the population of Kentucky where the archbishop is currently assigned. 

“It means a lot for us to know that the same amount of people who live in the whole state that I serve have been affected by this,” said Kurtz. 

“So we want to talk with people and understand their plight and sometimes being present to people as well as giving material help is just as important as that,” he said. 

The Church officials will travel back to the US on February 7. (CBCPNews)

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