Greetings and peace.
The typhoon that struck the Philippines on Friday has forever changed the lives of millions. Widespread damage was brought to coastal areas; thousands are missing and feared dead. This is a tremendous tragedy for the people of the Philippines and the world community.
The New York Province of the Society of Jesus has deep ties to the Philippines. Before becoming their own province, the Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics who worked there were under the care and direction of the New York Province. Those ministries have grown into a rich network of universities, schools, seminaries and social agencies that serve a large and vibrant faith community. It is now its own Philippine Province.
On Monday, Fr. Antonio Moreno, S.J., provincial of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, wrote regarding the status of the area Jesuits:
All of our Jesuits are thankfully safe (though a few are still trying to establish contact with family members). But thousands of our people lost their lives; other untold thousands, their homes and properties. It has already been acknowledged that this typhoon is the worst of the year, and perhaps the worst natural calamity ever to strike the Philippines. Some estimates put the death toll over 10,000. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council today reported nearly 2,900,000 families have been affected, some 24,000 houses damaged and major infrastructures devastated. Many parts of the Visayas still do not have electricity and communications, water, food, shelter and other basic necessities. Travel to and from some affected areas is still not possible.
The country still reels from the Zamboanga City siege and the earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu a few weeks ago. Evacuees in those afflicted regions are still homeless, and yet now new cries arise from people suffering in other calamity-stricken areas.
Friends, if you would like to contribute to relief efforts please visit the Philippine Jesuit Foundation website. You may also mail checks to the Philippine Jesuit Foundation, P.O. Box 312, New York, N.Y. 10028. For questions, please call Father Victor Salanga, SJ, at 646-370-1526.
I invite you to join me and my brother Jesuits in prayer for the lives of those lost, and the many families that are beginning the long road to recovery. May they receive God’s grace during this trying time and be reminded of God’s ever-present spirit through the many hands and hearts that reach out to them.
Sincerely in Our Lord,
David S. Ciancimino, SJ
New York Province of the Society of Jesus
Visit the Jesuit Conference website for more on the ongoing Philippine relief efforts and for an update from Fr. Salanga.