MANILA, Nov. 10, 2013—The top churchman of the Manila Archdiocese on Saturday called on Filipinos to express solidarity amid the different forms of “calamities” plaguing the country.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle lauded the Filipino faithful for their unwavering faith and unity as they strive to rise up from the ruins caused by the recent storms and earthquakes that ravaged the country.
“In front of a church that was destroyed, there is a mass and the people are singing. (This shows that their) faith is not destroyed. The building may collapse, but the faith is strong,” Tagle said, referring to the centuries-old Loon Church that was destroyed brought by the 7.2 magnitude temblor that struck Bohol last Oct. 15.
Apart from the Loon Church, historical churches in the towns of Baclayon, Loboc, Dauis, Dimiao, Loay and Maribojoc—all considered national cultural treasures and historical landmarks—were also destroyed.
“Those people of Bohol who lost the church, crying, yet saying ‘Our father’, ‘I believe in God’, these are the angels that we should listen to. These are the angels who tell us about Jesus and about the activity that comes to the human spirit because of faith,” Tagle said.
Recently, Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) battered Central Philippines, leaving more than a hundred people dead and many others injured. Yolanda was said to be the “most powerful” storm that hit the country in 2013.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the number of casualties from Super Typhoon Yolanda rose to 151 on Sunday morning. The death toll is expected to rise as more reports from affected areas reach the authorities.
“(Such) images of massive destruction in Tacloban, I can’t imagine 10 to 15 feet (of water) surge, reaching the second storey of a building, yet you hear people say: ‘Let us help one another. What can we do for our brothers and sisters in Tacloban? What hotlines can we call to send help?’ These are messages of faith that we should listen to,” Tagle noted.
The prelate also called on the faithful to express solidarity in the midst not only of the natural calamities that ripped the country, but also of the political corruption hounding the Philippine government.
“The transmission of faith, (we must) bridge it with solidarity, oneness, communion with the lowly and the hungry, especially now in our times, the suffering victims of different calamities, not just the natural calamities, but the daily calamity of corruption, power struggle, and cheating,” Tagle said.
He urged the faithful to manifest the same kind of faith even if they are being plagued by harsh challenges and uncertainties along the way.
“What a mystery—those who have reasons not to believe or to get angry with God, they are the ones proclaiming the joy of clinging to Jesus…A lot of things may get destroyed, but nothing can destroy their faith. We should listen to them,” he added. (Jennifer Orillaza)