Typhoon Haiyan Relief Mission

Relief Missions: A New Face to an Old Tradition

by • March 2, 2014 • Kapatiran NewsComments (0)1279

One of the traditions of the Capuchins is to be always present in places of calamities. The tradition started at the early years of the Capuchin history when in the middle of a plague, the Capuchins stayed behind and worked among the people providing assistance and solace to those who are suffering. It was a tradition very much in the spirit of the challenge Pope Francis is inspiring us to pursue. To be a Church that is in solidarity with the people. Pope Francis poignantly showed this to us when he assigned a Cardinal to be his almoner to the poor. He asked his Cardinal to go out to the poor of Rome and embrace the poor for him.

Following this spirit, the brothers of the Capuchin Philippine Province found a new face for our old tradition of being there always with the poor during a most trying period in the Philippines on the year 2013. The new face: Relief Missions.
When typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck our country, I was in Bohol with another doctor riding the aftershocks of a recent super earthquake while the winds of Yolanda simultaneously blew around us. We immediately wrapped up our apostolate in the area in order to respond to the new challenge of assisting those badly affected by Yolanda (Haiyan).

As soon as I got to Manila, we tried to raise as much relief goods as fast as possible in order to bring them to Samar and Leyte. In a short time, the Capuchin brothers from the different fraternities together with other religious congregations and generous lay collaborators were able to raise enough relief goods to fill up a large truck. Shortly afterwards, the truck traveled the many kilometers from Metro Manila via Matnog to Calbayog where I and our brothers of the OFM are already waiting to distribute them.
In this first trip, a friar, Br. Ryan Labasa,OFMCap accompanied the vehicle to its destination. The first trip was on November 21, 2013.

It was not just a one shot deal. After two months, the time it takes for donations from the Middle East to reach our shores, the Provincial Curia was again filled up with relief goods for the victims of typhoon Yolanda prompting us to set out again on a large truck filled with relief goods bound for Calbayog, where our brother OFMs would distribute the goods to the affected communities of Samar and Leyte. This next ‘expedition’ took place just a few days ago on February 18, 2014. I accompanied the shipment this time and we reached Calbayog safely in the early hours of the morning of February 20, 2014.

A third relief mission is presently in the offing with a target date of February 26, 2014. Br. Ryan Labasa,OFMCap is again tasked to accompany it.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the generous souls both locally and abroad for continually sending help for our sisters and brothers in Samar and Leyte. We will continue to do our best to bring your assistance to the people in need in the shortest time possible. This mission endeavor is as much as yours as it is ours. May God bless you always and all your endeavors!

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