Faithful told: ‘Continue to pray for Yolanda victims’

Faithful told: ‘Continue to pray for Yolanda victims’
Palo Archbishop Du blesses a memorial at a mass grave of Yolanda victims located in the front yard of the San Joaquin Parish Church in Palo, Leyte after a All Souls’ Day Mass, Nov. 2, 2017. GIANNA KRISTINE NAZARENO

TACLOBAN City – Palo Archbishop John Du called on Catholics to continue praying for those who perished during Super Typhoon Yolanda and to be prepared for death themselves, thanking God for His mercy and compassion.

Du, in a All Souls’ Day homily on Nov. 2 at the San Joaquin Parish in Palo, Leyte, stressed that many of those who died during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda “were not prepared” and that their souls still need prayers.

The people of Eastern Visayas are set to commemorate on Nov. 8 the 4th anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, which claimed the lives of at least 6,500 persons and left thousands more missing.

Not ready to go

The prelate held a All Souls’ Day Mass at the San Joaquin Parish, which houses one of the many instant mass graveyards where the remains of those who perished during the killer typhoon were buried.

“We have to pray for the dead, especially or brethren who died during Typhoon Yolanda whom I believe … [were] not prepared [to die], they [were] not yet really cleansed and purified,” he added, noting how it has been four years since their passing.

He exhorted the faithful to also prepare for death, especially that “(w)e never know, just like what happened to our brothers. They did not know that typhoon Yolanda was so strong that it will victimize some of our brothers and sisters to lose their lives.”

“The same thing also for us. We have to learn from the Yolanda. Anytime, anything will happen to us that is why it is always good to be prepared. So we thank God for His mercy and compassion,” added the prelate.

Local government units in Leyte, especially in Tacloban City and Palo, in cooperation with the local Catholic Church, are leading the 4th year commemoration of strongest typhoon ever recorded to have made landfall.

Celebrating resilience, faith

For the Church, however, Nov. 8 is the feast of Our Lady of Hope of Palo which celebrates resilience of those who survived the catastrophe and the strength of their faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Borongan Archbishop Crispin Varquez likewise stressed Du’s call for more prayers for the souls of those who perished during Super Typhoon Yolanda.

For Fr. Gilbert Urbina, a liturgist of the Archdiocese of Palo and one of those who helped formulate the prayers for the devotion to Our Lady of Hope of Palo, the Nov. 8 commemoration should be seen from a spiritual perspective.

“At this time when everybody still experiences the effect and trauma brought by Typhoon Yolanda, we do understand that many would still associate the day with death and destruction, but as a Church, we have the duty to lead the faithful toward a fuller view of our pilgrimage in this life and the virtues we need to acquire and live by until we reach our final destination,” the priest explained.

Urbina added, “We do believe that parishes should concentrate on propagating and instilling this devotion [to Our Lady of Hope of Palo] in the hearts and minds of our parishioners. Otherwise, if the parishes will be drawn immediately to ‘fanfare and spectacular’ activities in cooperation with government and non-sectarian NGOs, the celebration of the feast itself may in the future be identified with external activities.”

He stressed that the people’s faith and devotion has to be nurtured in the light of the disaster. CBCPNews