Nov 232013
The twin calamities that struck the country in the last two months may be considered severe tests of faith for Filipinos, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said Saturday.

But the CBCP, in a pastoral statement signed by outgoing president and Cebu archbishop Jose Palma, said Filipinos should also learn the lessons from the Oct. 15 magnitude-7.2 quake in Central Visayas and Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

“Indeed the twin calamities have tested severely our faith. Yet, even now, we believe we shall emerge from their situations with more awareness of the pattern of nature and hopefully learn its lessons,” Palma said.

“By strengthening the systems and institutions that mitigate the effects of these forces of nature, we can avoid the recurrence of the present tragedy,” he added.

The statement came on the eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King on Sunday.

Several were killed when the Oct. 15 quake struck Central Visayas while more than 5,000 were left dead in the wake of Yolanda, which battered Visayas and Southern Luzon.

Palma said no words can describe the sorrow that many in Bohol, Cebu, Leyte and Samar have suffered.

“The calamities have tested our spirit as a community,” he said.

Exercising faith

However, he said that with the Year of Faith coming to a close, “we have been called upon to exercise our faith by putting our trust in the Lord and reaching out to help each other.”

“Once again we treasure the precious gift of faith. It will not falter; we shall overcome adversities with charity. As we pray we shall rise with courage and renewed hope for the future,” he added.

On the other hand, Palma said there are signs Filipinos will prevail due to their spirit.

“Signs of their indomitable spirit can be seen everywhere. People from safer areas flocking to devastated places bearing food, water, medicine and other relief goods to help the survivors. Homes and communities opening their gates and doors to welcome evacuees and care for those who have taken refuge,” he said.

Palma said it is “inspiring” to see convoys with relief goods and materials as manifestations of solidarity and a life of charity.

“There may be less of good cheer this Christmas for many, but the Christmas spirit did come early this year,” he said.

He also thanked volunteers and various international communities that helped the victims.

Also, he thanked foreign media, who he said “brought to the world’s attention the plight of our countrymen.”

Moreover, Palma said the culmination of the Year of Faith “makes us trust in the God of love and mercy, the God who points to a tomorrow much better than today.”

“For our part, knowing the dream and love in people’s hearts, we need to pick up the pieces of our lives, help each other to rise again and take up the journey of rebuilding our communities. We confess God makes all things new,” he added. — LBG, GMA News

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