May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:22)

On the day we joyously celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, our brothers, and sisters in the Philippines, particularly in Visayas and Southern Luzon, had faced another devastating disaster due to Typhoon Jolina. Recent reports show that the aftermath of the typhoon’s wrath had destroyed homes, opened economic deficiencies, left people missing, and unfortunately, declared a number of victims as deceased.

On behalf of the bishops of the Philippines, I offer my condolences to those bereaved. May the souls of those who died be looked upon by God with mercy and compassion.

As one Church, I invite all of you to pray for our fellow Filipinos who were affected by the typhoon so that they may feel hope amidst their suffering. Let us ask for the intercession of Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted, that they may find consolation in the warmth of God’s love.

As we all continue to strive under the hardship dictated by the pandemic, may our hearts be open to look upon our neighbors who are in a great need.

Let us remember the words of the Holy Father when he visited Japan way back in 2019 in which he says. “The path to a full recovery may still be long, but it can always be undertaken if it counts on the spirit of people capable of mobilizing in order to help one another.” Indeed, our healing takes time, but with the help of each other, through the words of Pope Francis, may we realize our duty to extend our hands rooted in our capability to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Let us pray that Typhoon Kiko may not be as devastating as Typhoon Jolina. May God the Father embrace our country so we may find comfort and peace.

Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

10 September 2021