MANILA, Nov. 23, 2013—The recent calamities that struck the country may have severely tried the faith of Filipinos, but these also demonstrated their indomitable spirit amid adversity, a high ranking Church official said.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the twin calamities that recently happened have also tested the Filipinos spirit of community and concern for others who are in need.
The earthquake that happened last Oct, 15 followed by typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8 have brought so much devastation and sorrow on the lives of people, particularly those living in the islands of Bohol, Cebu, Leyte and Samar.
In a pastoral statement, Palma said the universal celebration of the Year of Faith, which culminates on Nov. 24, is a call to a deeper exercise of “our faith by putting our trust in the Lord and reaching out to help each other.”
He stressed that through the precious gift of faith that each one received, “we shall overcome adversities with charity,” and “as we pray we shall rise with courage and renewed hope for the future.”
Palma, who is finishing his term as head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Nov. 30 underscored the charity and compassion showed by people who are in safer areas who brought food, water, medicine and other relief goods to help the survivors.
He also noted how families and communities generously opened their doors to welcome those displaced by the calamities and care for those who have taken refuge.
“It is inspiring to see convoys of vehicles bearing relief goods and materials as manifestations of solidarity and a life of charity. There may be less of good cheer this Christmas for many, but the Christmas spirit did come early this year,” he said.
Palma also acknowledged the help of international communities who responded immediately to the situation with humanitarian aid.
“Our profound gratitude goes to the foreign media, who brought to the world’s attention the plight of our countrymen. We thank the government and foreign institutions who have sent aid and expression of solidarity,” he said.
Palma hoped that the magnitude of devastation brought by the natural calamities would at least lead to the country’s more systemic approach in the future to mitigate the effects of typhoon and other natural disasters.
“We believe we shall emerge from these situations with more awareness of the pattern of nature and hopefully learn its lessons. By strengthening the systems and institutions that mitigate the effects of these forces of nature, we can avoid the recurrence of the present tragedy,” he said.
“The culmination of the Year of Faith makes us trust in the God of love and mercy, the God who points to a tomorrow much better than today,” Palma said. “For our part, knowing the dream and love in people’s hearts, we need to pick up the pieces of our lives, help each other to rise again and take up the journey of rebuilding our communities.” (CBCPNews)