HAIYAN TASK FORCE: Msgr. Joe Kerrigan, Fr. Gerry Paderon, Ernie Revoir, Chinky Reyes, Tony Tamayo, Tony Sitoy, Don Tibay, Jerry Lynch.
PHILIPPINES RESPONSE TEAM: Corabeth "Chinky" Reyes.
HAIYAN RESPONSE / CCST TIMELINE from Nov. 2013-2016
** For the latest on the January 2016 delegation to the Philippines, click here.
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the Philippines with devastating force Nov. 7-8, 2013. The grim statistics of the storm’s destruction do not lighten with the passing of time: approximately 7,000 people dead, roughly one million displaced, one-quarter of a million homes destroyed, and more than 100,000 children in need of food assistance.
Within a week of the disaster, CCST met with representatives from the diocesan Filipino Apostolate, beginning a collaboration locally that continues to this day. CCST continues to raise awareness and funds in support of CRS’ efforts in the Philippines. Several fund-raising collections were held at Simbang Gabi Masses in the Metuchen Diocese in the last days before Christmas 2013, and again in Advent 2014. CCST prepared a Simbang Gabi guide with a Typhoon Haiyan theme for the past two years.
In the Metuchen Diocese, Bishop Bootkoski called for a second collection in parishes to benefit CRS’ emergency response to the disaster. Nearly $600,000 was raised. Bishop Paul Bootkoski met with representatives from Catholic Relief Services, the diocesan Filipino Apostolate and CCST, on Feb. 25, 2014, to receive thanks on behalf of the Metuchen Diocese’s generous response to Typhoon Haiyan. To date, at that level, more than $589,000 has been raised within Metuchen and sent to CRS.
Even as the Haiyan humanitarian response has now moved from the immediate emergency phase to the long-term recovery phase, CCST continues to stand with the Filipino people, both in Central New Jersey and in the Haiyan-affected region. We, too, move into a long-term recovery phase of fund-raising, relationship-building and project support, together with Catholic Relief Services. Our focus, at least initially, is on agricultural recovery and permanent housing, in the Archdiocese of Palo. We have formed an eight-member Haiyan task force, a combination of Filipino-Americans and CCST veterans who have been to Guatemala and India in the aftermath of catastrophic natural disasters in those two countries.
At the six-month mark of the Typhoon (May 2014), CRS released this update of its activities.
The first Metuchen delegation trip to the stricken area took place Sept 2-15, 2014. CCST director Msgr. Joe Kerrigan, veteran of delegations to Guatemala and India, helped inaugurate Metuchen's on-the-ground presence in the Philippines, along with Fr. Gerry Paderon, CCST veteran Ernie Revoir, and Queenship of Mary parishioner Corabeth "Chinky" Reyes. We have identified an exciting project to jump into, the Mary Mediatrix relocation village within Immaculate Conception Parish, Burauen, Leyte. The Archdiocese of Lipa and CRS were original partners in the relocation concept, but CCST is now helping with the water supply and improvements to the village as members begin to reside.
For a photo gallery and brief report of the September 2014 delegation, please click here.
Msgr. Kerrigan returned to the region in January 2015, in conjunction with Pope Francis' pastoral visit to Leyte. Two months later, in March 2015, Tony Sitoy visited and took photos of the continuing progress in the community,
As we strengthen our resolve to act on behalf of Haiyan survivors and communities for several years to come, we also look back in gratitude to the amazing generosity of the people in our diocese. We are also grateful for the leadership of the Filipino Apostolate in the diocese, who continue to mobilize in many ways to deepen the response and further the awareness. The faith, kindness and gracefulness of the Filipino community in this time of trial has been nothing short of inspirational.
Please continue your prayers and action for Haiyan sufferers. Stay informed at either crs.org or ccsolidarity.org, and send donations to Catholic Charities Solidarity Team, 56 Throop Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901.
Caroline Brennan, senior communications officer for CRS, who was one of the first to witness and report CRS’ response to Typhoon Haiyan, accepted CCST’s invitation to be the keynote speaker for the annual Harvest of Hope Dinner in 2014. She spoke Nov. 7, the first anniversary of when Haiyan hit the Philippines (in US time). Msgr. Jimmy Villaneuva, lead clergy contact from the Archdiocese of Palo, visited the Metuchen Diocese in the fall of 2015.
For updates on CRS' programming in the Philippines, click here.
Birhen Ng Antipolo Prayer
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Virgin of Antipolo, look kindly upon our needs in this pilgrimage to our home in heaven.
As you accompanied Christ in his journey from Bethlehem to Calvary, you discovered the loving presence of God in ever new ways.
Guide us now in our own turn so that we may discover God in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters.
Help us to recognize him with the eyes of our hearts and to grow deeper in his love through life’s joys and pains.
And at our journey’s end, lead us to the doorsteps of heaven and bring us to your son Jesus who has secured and prepared for us a place in our Father’s house.