“He calms the storm” (Ps 107:29)
Pastoral Letter on the Seventh Anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda
Grace and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ!
It has been seven years since Super Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda came our way. Despite the pandemic we are going through, we still have fresh memories of the horrors we went through last November 8, 2013 and the painful months and years after. But we also remember God’s love and mercy for our people. This we experienced concretely in the goodness and compassion of other people, both fellow Filipinos and foreigners.
As your Bishop and shepherd of the diocese, I have been a fellow sufferer too. Yet I believe there are a few things we must bear in mind as we recall Yolanda:
First, we must be thankful to the Lord that we have risen from the horrible destruction super typhoons Yolanda and Ruby left us. The fact that most of that is now only a painful memory testifies to God’s saving acts at work in our own history. As we thank the Lord, let us also thank those who helped us. They too were agents of God’s mighty hand.
Second, we pray for those dear ones who lost their lives during and shortly after Yolanda’s wrath. We continually entrust them to the Father of mercy in our Masses and prayers.
Third, as we face a tense present and an uncertain future, let us continue to pray for our deliverance from any and all calamities, both natural and man-made, physical or spirittual, particularly Covid-19 and other vagaries of the weather, health, political, social and economic situations.
Fourth, many of the calamities we face are pointed out by scientists and experts as related to climate change and global warning. Our planet and our poor cry for our attention and right action to save our common home and our more vulnerable brethren in the human family. For this to happen we must heed Pope Francis’ call for ecological conversion. We must move away from the sins of environmental abuse and neglect to environmental and social justice to show that we are truly returning to the Lord.
Finally, let us remember how the challenges of Yolanda helped strengthen our faith. We must learn from our past to face our present encounter with Covid-19 and other threats like La Nina with hope and an enthusiasm to do acts of charity to others who suffer and are in need.
As ever, we look to our heavenly Mother and Patroness of the Diocese, the Blessed Virgin Mary. We beg her prayers and those of the saints for the end of this pandemic and our deliverance from other calamities. Yet we must realize that God is also our Father whose providence continues. As the prophet reminds us. “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).
Most Rev. Crispin B. Varquez, D.D.
Bishop of Borongan
1 November 2020, Solemnity of All Saints
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