MANILA, Dec. 7, 2014—Filipino priests based in Rome, Italy have joined their countrymen back home in asking for no less than a miracle that typhoon “Ruby” (Hagupit) will not be as destructive as predicted.
In his interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston, rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino (Pontifical Filipino College), has assured the Filipino faithful they are with them in prayer as they brave yet another calamity a year after typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
‘Trust in the Lord’
“We here in Rome are closely monitoring events as they unfold there in the Philippines. We’re really hoping and praying this typhoon would not be devastating … Let’s put our trust in the Lord,” the priest shared.
With rehabilitation efforts still ongoing in Yolanda-hit communities, Gaston expresses sadness that Ruby had to come when survivors of the earlier calamity have barely pulled themselves together from their traumatic experience in 2013.
According to a ABS-CBN news report, Ruby has already made landfall in Samar and is now heading for Masbate. It continues to cause strong winds and rains in Eastern Visayas, specifically the Samar provinces, the same area which bore the brunt of super typhoon Yolanda a year before, leaving over 6,000 killed and many others missing.
Opening churches, schools
Meanwhile, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, has called on Filipinos, particularly those far from the danger zones, to pray for the safety of their compatriots to be affected by Ruby.
“Lord, spare our land from this typhoon!” he said.
In a circular dated Thursday, Dec. 4, the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate pleads with government officials and NGOs to start evacuation.
“To wait any longer may be disastrous. There is no such thing as an excess of caution, especially when faced with a danger so severe,” he noted.
Villegas has also urged Catholic churches and schools to open their doors to refugees and those badly in need of shelter, particularly those already displaced by Yolanda, requesting only that evacuees remember “the sacred character of the churches” they will occupy.
“Together with my brother-bishops, I commend the entire nation to the mercy, love and providence of our Father,” he added.
According to the latest Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) update, as of 7:00 a.m., today, the eye of typhoon “Ruby” was located at 70 km Northwest of Catbalogan, Samar (12.2°N, 124.4°E). (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)