MANILA, Philippines, Feb. 4, 2014 — An emotional Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila welcomed U.S. Catholic leaders reviewing Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, recovery efforts, saying that the work to rebuild devastated communities can show the world a church united in the service of people in need.
With tears welling up as he described the utter destruction he saw during a visit to Tacloban soon after the Nov. 8 typhoon swept in from the sea with 195-mile-an-hour winds and a tsunami-like storm surge, Cardinal Tagle reminded the international delegation Feb. 3 that storm survivors can teach visitors about the importance of perseverance and maintaining faith in God.
“I don’t know how we could make the whole world realize how much we could help. For a few days (during my visit) we knew it was possible for humankind to be together, to be one, to feel for one another and to transcend the barriers, all the baggage, the history that religion, that politics, the financial economy has imposed on everyone,” Cardinal Tagle said in a meeting at the offices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
“In that regard we saw the response and demand here,” he told a delegation of more than a dozen representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Australia. “There is so much hope for the world. We just prayed that this will be sustained and will not become sporadic, only occasional. We hope it becomes a lifestyle to be spearheaded by Christians.”
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., USCCB president, who was leading the delegation on its weeklong visit to the Philippines, told the cardinal that the U.S. church wanted to work side-by-side with Filipinos in the long recovery process.
“We know there is one church and we want to be partners with you,” he said. [Full story]