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Catholic Church in US actively involved in 'Yolanda' relief efforts in PH

His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, led the concelebration of the mass for victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines at the Saint Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on Monday night, November 25. Cardinal Wuerl was joined by 10 other priests, including several from the Philippines, in the mass attended by more than 300 people, mostly members of the Filipino-American Community. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. (at the rostrum) expressed the gratitude of the Philippine Government and the Filipino people to the Catholic Church in the US. (Philippine Embassy Photos by Elmer G. Cato)
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Catholic Church in the United States is not only offering prayers for typhoon victims in the Philippines but is also actively helping on the ground, through its international humanitarian arm, which has committed more than $20 million in emergency aid.

And for this gesture, the Philippine Government and the Filipino people are thankful, according to Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. “We feel not just the prayers of the Church in the United States but also the concrete help that it continues to provide for our people. And we are extremely grateful,” Cuisia said.

“It will be a long road to recovery but with sustained prayers, I know that our people will overcome these trials and continue to see the work of our good Lord even in these most difficult of times,” the Ambassador said.

The Philippine Embassy said the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is working closely with Caritas Philippines, the Philippine Government and other humanitarian organizations in assisting affected communities in typhoon-ravaged areas and has committed $20 million in immediate relief for typhoon victims.

Cuisia commended the CRS for being among the first relief organizations to respond to the disaster, not only distributing thousands of temporary shelters for victims in Ormoc and Palo, but also purchasing 2 million water purification tablets that were distributed with hygiene and sanitation kits.

The Ambassador said CRS and its partners are planning for the recovery phase, which includes restoring livelihood for almost 500,000 people in Palo and Ormoc in Leyte, and Basey in Samar, by restarting cultivation of staple crops, vegetable crops and poultry and providing cash for work for people to clear up their neighborhoods.

Ambassador Cuisia also thanked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, through its president, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, who sent a letter of solidarity to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). In his letter, Cardinal Dolan also strongly urged US bishops to take a special collection to help in the typhoon relief efforts.

Earlier, the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, told almost 300 Filipino and American Catholics who attended a special mass for typhoon victims at the Saint Matthew’s Cathedral last Nov. 25 that $100,000 had already been turned over to the CBCP to assist in the relief efforts. He said that collections in the archdiocese will also be given to the CRS to be used for its typhoon relief efforts. 

The mass, organized by the Philippine Embassy, was presided over by Cardinal Wuerl and concelebrated by Msgr. Ronald Jameson, rector of the cathedral, Rev. Fr. Francis Villanueva and several other priests.

"We pray for all those who continue to suffer in the Philippines and for the repose of all those who lost their lives," said Cardinal Wuerl. “We pray that the Lord would look with compassion on our affliction and lighten your children's burden." 




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