TACLOBAN City, Nov. 2, 2016 – With locals set to commemorate the third anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8 through a candle-lighting ceremony, the local church will mark the day by officially culminating a 9-day devotion of Masses and prayers to Our Lady of Hope of Palo.
Fr. Wilson Chu, co-parish priest of coastal Sto. Niño Parish in Tacloban, said the devotion is meant to both remember and pray for those who perished in Super Typhoon Yolanda, and to celebrate the resurgence of hope among the survivors because of their faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Sto. Niño Parish has also documented parishioners testimonies of how they survived the storm surge and twister-like winds by praying the Holy Rosary. Others continued asking for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession as they struggled to rebuild their lives in the wake of the disaster.
Visit to mass grave
Aside from the devotion to Our Lady of Hope of Palo, the presbyterium of the Archdiocese of Palo is likewise scheduled to visit a huge mass grave in Tanauan to commemorate the victims of the super typhoon, said the priest.
Beginning Oct. 30, the faithful commenced the novena in honor of Our Lady of Hope of Palo in Masses in parishes all over the diocese, said Fr. Ronel Taboso, parish priest of Sto. Niño Church.
Personally blessed by the Holy Father, the life-size image of Our Lady of Hope of Palo was a fixture in the altar at the apron of DZR airport in this city for the Mass presided over by Pope Francis on Jan. 17, 2015.
Palo Archbishop John Du also gifted Pope Francis with a miniature image of the Our Lady of Hope of Palo at the altar of Palo Cathedral during a supposed brief meeting with clergy during his visit to Tacloban.
Taboso clarified, however, that the faithful should not consider the image of Our Lady of Hope of Palo as particularly belonging to the town of Palo town since other images of the Blessed Virgin like Our Lady of Fatima do not denote a devotion exclusive for those in Fatima, Portugal.
Not just Palo’s
“Palo here is Archdiocese of Palo and not town of Palo,” explained the priest.
A commemorative concelebrated Mass is also set in the afternoon of Nov. 8 at the Sto. Niño Parish here. A prayer wall will be placed at the parish courtyard like last year. On this wall, churchgoers can write and post their prayer intentions for those who lost their lives to Yolanda, said Taboso and Chu.
According to Brando Bernadas, chairman of SNP Commission of Social Action, the city government, headed by Mayor Cristina Romualdez, is planning to hold a commemorative Mass at the mass grave for Yolanda victims at the Holy Cross Memorial Park in northern Brgy. Diit.
This will be after the aurora (dawn procession), said Bernadas.
An ecumenical community prayer is also being planned in the afternoon of Nov. 8 at the Tacloban City Astrodome, which served as an evacuation center during the said calamity. (Eileen Ballesteros – Nazareno / CBCPNews)