STATEMENT: 10th anniversary of Supertyphoon Yolanda
November 7, 2023
Dearly beloved people of God:
Greetings in the Lord!
As we commemorate the 10th year anniversary of Supertyphoon Yolanda, a catastrophic event that left an indelible mark on our diocese and the entire nation, we solemnly remember everyone in prayer and thanksgiving. It was a time of great sorrow, loss, and devastation, but it was also a time when our bonds of solidarity and faith were tested and strengthened.
As we look back on that fateful day, we remember the lives lost, the families shattered, and the communities uprooted. We recall the countless acts of heroism and selflessness that emerged in the midst of the chaos. We acknowledge the pain and grief that still linger in the hearts of those who survived and continue to rebuild their lives. And we recognize the hand of God guiding us through the darkest of moments.
In the face of such immense tragedy, our faith in God’s providence and love has sustained us. We have witnessed the power of prayer and the resilience of the human spirit. We have experienced the generosity of our brothers and sisters from around the world who reached out to us in our time of need. And we have seen how, in the midst of suffering, hope can rise from the ashes and new beginnings can emerge.
On this anniversary, I invite each one of you to join me in reflecting on the following themes:
1. Remembering and Praying for the Victims: Let us remember, pray, and honor the lives of those who perished during Supertyphoon Yolanda. Let us pray for their eternal rest and for the comfort and strength of their families. May their memory remind us of the preciousness of life and the urgency of caring for our brothers and sisters.
2. Gratitude for Solidarity: We express our deepest gratitude to all who extended a helping hand during our darkest hour. Let us remember the aid organizations, volunteers, and individuals who worked tirelessly to provide relief and assistance. Their compassion and solidarity inspired us and gave us hope. Let us strive to pay it forward by being agents of mercy and love in our own communities.
3. Rebuilding and Resilience: We have come a long way since that tragic day, but the journey towards full recovery is not yet complete. Many are still struggling to rebuild their homes, livelihoods, and lives. As a diocese, let us redouble our efforts to support and accompany those who are still on this journey. Let us offer our time, resources, and skills to help our brothers and sisters stand on their feet again.
4. Care for Creation: Supertyphoon Yolanda served as a stark reminder of the urgent need to care for our common home. Climate change poses a significant threat to our planet and its most vulnerable inhabitants. Let us commit ourselves to sustainable practices and advocate for policies that protect the environment and promote justice for all. Let us support initiatives of our Diocese in our advocacy against environmental degradations. This coming November 29-30, 2023, together with other Dioceses (Catarman, Calbayog, Palo, and Naval) we shall be having our Island Wide Jericho Walk to be held in Guiuan as our prayer and cry against irresponsible mining in our islands. We are called to be stewards of creation and to work towards a more just and sustainable future.
As we commemorate this 10th year anniversary, let us hold each other in prayer and support. May our collective memory of Supertyphoon Yolanda inspire us to be agents of healing, reconciliation, and hope in our diocese and beyond.
May the Lord, who is our refuge and strength, continue to bless and protect us.
+ MOST REV. CRISPIN B. VARQUEZ, DD
Bishop of Borongan
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