Saturday, February 18, 2006

Statement of Sympathy and Concern

“My soul seeps because of grief;
strengthen me according to Your Word.” (Ps. 119:29)

The sad news about the most tragic landslide in Guinsaugon, Saint Bernard in Southern Leyte has moved us to our knees in prayer. We contemplated on the unfathomable ways of God in the face of misfortunes that has befallen our country in the last couple of weeks.

Even as we grieve, we already hear in the media a number of comments about our carelessness and onslaughts against our environment. We hear some people lamenting the delays in the implementation of reforestation programs that should have restored our denuded forests. We look up to citizens and groups who have committed themselves to defend the environment against those who plunder our national patrimony and safety in pursuit of economic returns that neither alleviate the national economy nor improve the plight of the poor in this country.

In our pastoral statement released after the Bishops’ Plenary Assembly in January this year, we proclaimed 2006 as a “Social Concerns Year”. This disaster in Southern Leyte is our first challenge towards this end. In view of this, we are calling all the social action centers in all dioceses throughout the country to coordinate all efforts and resources under the leadership of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) and collaborate with the Bishop of the Diocese of Maasin, Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB. This way we can more efficiently harness our disaster response programs and rehabilitation initiatives for the families of the victims of this calamity.

With profound sympathy and concern for the families of the victims, we invoke the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary to console us in these trying times and bestow eternal rest unto those who perished.

Archbishop of Jaro
CBCP President

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