This weekend we welcome Fr. Alan Abalon from the Diocese of Catarman in the Philippines to our parish.
A collection will be taken after communion to help support our brothers and sisters in the villages of the Catarman diocese; your generosity is greatly appreciated.
The Diocese of Catarman is one of the poorest in the Philippines; our children live in abject poverty and we witness daily the violence that starvation and disease in remote areas of our diocese cause. This is the painful reality our church faces. Simple, yet curable diseases due to malnutrition and the annual natural calamities that nature unkindly inflicts on our people cause death at an early age.
Most of our villages are located in the hinterlands. Seventy-five percent of the populations are farmers. Six out of hundred children die before they reach the age of one. Our area is also visited by typhoons, sometimes 33 times in a year, which destroy the crops and houses made of nipa huts and bamboos. In November 2013, we were hit by the strongest typhoon ever wherein there were more than ten thousand people died. We have to wait again for several years for the coconut crops to normalize, which is our only major source of living. Pandemic is still going with no vaccines available for everyone.
But we learn to survive, to hope, to pray and to rely on God's compassion in the midst of the life and death struggles of the poor. In God's grace we have lay leaders, religious sisters and clergy who are dedicated to meeting the spiritual, material and ecclesial needs of our people. God's hope assures us that his grace also motivates those with a heart for the poor to lend their prayerful and financial support to our efforts.
Your assistance is crucial to make a difference in the survival of our people. We depend on your generosity to simply live. If our proposal is approved, your help will go to the relief needs of our impoverished children and their families, for the training and formation of our lay leaders and our clergy's health & retirement assistance program.