Yours is a heart open to the world! Thank you for opening your heart to our Franciscan missionaries and the poor and suffering people we serve throughout our world. Together with us, you make miracles happen in their lives.
I trust in the kindness and the openness of your heart as I write to you seeking your ongoing support for our friars serving the poor providing Typhoon Relief in the Philippines. I know this is not the first time I have asked for your support for the Philippines. This is a part of the world that has many people living in poverty who seem to experience more than their share of natural disasters, from earthquakes to typhoons.
The Disaster of Super Typhoon Rai
Just a few weeks ago on December 16, 2021, Super Typhoon Rai pummeled the island of Cebu with wind gusts of 125 m.p.h. for three hours. This island is home to the Franciscan Custody house, a parish, the postulancy house, and the house for senior and infirm friars. Because of storm surge warnings, sick and senior friars were relocated to the parish friary, which is on higher ground. The move was made in the dead of night while braving the storm! Some of the friars also helped evacuate local neighbors to the parish building using friary vehicles.
The aftermath of the storm was heartbreaking. The light of dawn revealed that most of the Franciscan buildings and the homes of neighbors were destroyed. The human toll was tragic, with 408 people killed, over 500 people injured, and 83 still missing. But for the survivors of the storm, the ordeal has just begun. More than 2 million people are seriously affected in areas like Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, and southern Leyte. Electricity, water supplies, and sources of food are cut off. So many people are left homeless by this super typhoon. They are crying for help!
The Need for Relief is Great
At this moment, chaos reigns in Cebu and the nearby provinces. Storm survivors are lining up for the few emergency relief supplies that are available. The official response has been slow and unsystematic. There are no cell phone signals and all the powerlines are down. Communication with the outside world is very difficult. Father Neil Badillo, OFM from the Custody of St. Anthony of Padua has managed to get a message out to us. He is asking for emergency funds to help purchase rice, canned goods, blankets, clothing, and gasoline to transport supplies and bring medical personnel to provide emergency treatment.
You Make Miracles Happen
Fr. Neil and our friars have already provided emergency food supplies to over 700 families and medical treatment and medicines to 237 individuals. But our friars there have so few resources, and they need to purchase additional food supplies and medicine to help more people. There were so many people left homeless by this super typhoon! Do you see why your support is so urgently needed now? Fr. Neil and our missionary friars will provide a family with rice, canned goods, blankets, clothing, bottled water, and medicines for a cost of only $19 per family. They are hoping to provide these emergency supplies to an additional 500 to 700 families!
I am inviting you to open your heart one more time by joining us in sending desperately needed relief funds for the victims of this natural disaster. Will you please join with Fr. Neil and our other missionary friars to ease the suffering of the victims by providing typhoon relief in the Philippines?
God bless you for caring so deeply for children and families suffering in our time.
Your brother in Christ,
Brother. Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Please be as generous today as your heart leads you and your resources allow. God will remember you for your compassion to the poor in the missions.