First of all, a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful response to the appeal for the Philippines Disaster. You raised R19 000 to assist with the relief efforts.
As you know we Redemptorists have a significant presence in the Philippine Islands. There is a vice-Province of Manila with six communities: Baclaran, Laoag, Legaspi, Lipa, Mariposa and New Manila.
There is a Province of Cebu with twelve communities: four communities in Cebu itself, Bacolod, two communities in Davao, Dumaguete, Iligan, two communities in Iloilo and one in Tacloban.
The Tacloban community was the worst affected by the typhoon as you will have seen on the TV. Our church of our Lady of Perpetual Help was turned into a reception centre for those made homeless and pictures of the interior of the church are posted on the Redemptorist website.
This week I was in touch with the Provincial in Cebu and with Fr Joe in the Cebu parish community. The superior of the Cebu community, Fr Aidan McMahon, C.Ss.R., visited Holy Redeemer, Bergvliet a few years ago for a finance meeting with Fr Martin.
I was informed that the efforts of the Redemptorists, especially in the Cebu/Tacloban area will concentrate on rehabilitation: after the initial relief operation (providing shelter, water, food, clothing etc) the focus will move to providing housing and all the infrastructures that go with that.
It is a mammoth task which requires co-operation at many levels. No one agency or charity can do everything. In disasters like this, there is usually a flood of immediate relief but then a long period of reconstruction which really requires state intervention.
The Redemptorists in Cebu have asked me to thank you most sincerely for your generosity. I will keep you informed of the progress of the relief efforts while we continue to pray for all involved.
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.