Papal representative visits typhoon-stricken Leyte

Palo, Leyte – Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development (Cor Unum) arrived in Leyte on January 28 to visit areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda and extend more assistance for rehabilitation efforts. Cor Unum is an administrative body of the Pope for the Church’s charitable activities.

Cardinal Sarah, 68, first visited the San Jose Parish in Tacloban City, one of the parishes that were severely devastated because of the typhoon, to have breakfast. The cardinal then went around Tacloban and Palo to visit communities and spearheaded the distribution of relief goods in severely hit areas. In Palo, he celebrated a mass at the Libertad Mission Station. “I would not tell you the date but the Holy Father has been telling me ‘I might be also going there,’” the cardinal said during the mass.

He then visited the Sisters of Mercy Hospital, Sacred Heart Seminary, and the Archbishop’s Residence, where he met with Archbishop John Du of the Archdiocese of Palo. Archbishop Du stated that the facilities within the Residence which were damaged by the typhoon will be renovated, to be financed by Cor Unum. The project will also include a small convent for nuns, a chapel, and a dispensary. “I decided to have them built within the compound of my residence because I also want to live with these people,” Du said. He added that the project is “..part of the Holy Father’s desire to reach out to the people especially the least whom are not given much attention.”

Cardinal Sarah returned to Manila the same day and traveled back to Rome after two days.

Immediately after the typhoon, Pope Francis donated an initial USD 150,000 through the Cor Unum as aid to the victims.



US Archbishop visits Leyte

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky together with a delegation visited the Archdiocese of Palo on February 4, 2014. Onboard a 10 am flight from Manila the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) head was accompanied by Catholic Relief Service (CRS) Chairman of the Board and Oklahoma Archbishop Paul Coakley, Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, President of Catholic Health Association, and Carolyn Woo, President and CEO of CRS.

The delegation met Church leaders and relief workers especially from the CRS and to survey the needs following the devastation of typhoon “Yolanda.”

On a meeting with the Disaster response team of the Archdiocese of Palo, the delegation expressed their untiring efforts to help the survivors of the typhoon. The Clergy in turn conveyed their deepest gratitude to the Church of the United States thru Kurtz on their humanitarian response thru the CRS and assistance in the rebuilding of Churches channeled thru the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Distribution of relief goods in the Archdiocese of Palo has ended in the last week of January and the second phase, which will focus on the rehabilitation of communities, will commence. Series of activities are prepared by the Archdiocese to help the members of the different parish communities to support themselves specially in recovering their livelihood.