Catholic Church Calls National Days of Prayer in Philippines

For Families Affected by Typhoon ‘Odette’

National Days of Prayer
Aerial photo of Siargao Island, where typhoon Odette made its first landfall, taken by Philippine Coast Guard on Dec. 17, 2021. COURTESY OF PCG

The Catholic Church in the Philippines has set December  25- 26 as national days of prayer for families affected by typhoon “Odette”, reported CBCP News.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on dioceses to dedicate the said days to pray for the recovery of communities affected by the typhoon.

Dioceses are also encouraged to hold a second collection in all Masses on Christmas Day and the following day for the typhoon victims.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, CBCP president, said the “Alay Kapwa Solidarity Fund” will be used for the Church’s collective emergency response.

“We encourage everyone to remit all collections to Caritas Philippines that will then plan and implement our overall response,” David said.

The church’s social action arm, he added, will also provide the dioceses reports and updates on a regular basis.

“May this season of giving offer us more opportunities to do consistent acts of Alay Kapwa (offering of oneself),” he also said.

The national Caritas said that at least 10 dioceses in Visayas and Mindanao regions were heavily affected by the typhoon.

Odette intensified into a super typhoon before making a landfall in the island of Siargao in Surigao del Norte on Thursday, forcing mass evacuation in low-lying areas.

Packing maximum sustained winds of up to 195 km, the 15th typhoon to enter the Philippine territory this year destroyed houses displacing thousands of families.

The second-most powerful typhoon to hit the country this year also cut power and communication lines in the affected areas.

Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao on Monday appealed for prayers as the diocese reels from the aftermath of a powerful typhoon that wreaked havoc across the nation.

He said Surigao del Norte suffered “sizeable damage” from the typhoon, which made its first landfall on the province’s Siargao island.

“Please continue to pray for the Diocese of Surigao,” Cabajog said in a message sent to the bishops’ conference from the city of Butuan on Monday.

“Never in my entire life have I encountered such a typhoon. To say ‘super’ is an understatement,” he said.

The typhoon, according to him, manifested its “super strength” around 1:00 p.m. and unleashed more strength and peaked around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday.

“Blinding torrential rains and howling winds no man could take standing up hammered us for more than three hours,” he said.

Odette was a “super typhoon” when it slammed into Siargao, a popular tourist and surfing destination.

Siargao and Dinagat province, the prelate said, “are worst hit with unofficial reports of many casualties”.

Power and communication lines are still down in the two areas, hampering efforts to get the extent of damage difficult.

The prelate said mainland parishes seem to have suffered lesser damage than those in the city.

The storm also devastated several heavily populated areas, including Bohol, Cebu, and Southern Leyte provinces.

The death toll caused by the typhoon has risen to 208, according to the Philippine National Police.

Appealing help for the typhoon victims, the bishop said that food and water are priority needs in badly hit areas.

“In spite of all these, the strong faith of the people stands out as their pillar of comfort and support,” he said.