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Philippines thanks the Pope, as it recuperates from the devastation of the typhoon

2014-04-06

It's been four months since a deadly typhoon struck the Philippines. The region that was affected the most has gotten a lot of support from the Vatican. So to thank the Pope, the  Archbishop of Palo came to Rome to say thank you. 

ARCH. JOHN FORROSUELO DU 
Archbishop of Palo (Philippines )
"The situation right now is that we are doing some kind of rehabilitation, rebuilding and some repairs for their houses. Our people are slowly recovering from the trauma they experienced, especially because the people in our diocese have strong faith, you know.”

In February a Vatican delegation traveled from Rome to the Philippines to show its spiritual and financial support. The group helped build an orphanage, nursing home and a small clinic. 

The typhoon left more than 10,000 dead and four million displaced. Many sought refuge in the Cathedral.

ARCH. JOHN FORROSUELO DU 
Archbishop of Palo (Philippines ) 
"Thank God our Cathedral is elevated. Most of the casualties, what really caused death to our people was because of the water that came into the inland.  So the water was in to 20, 35 feet high so, they were drowned, so they never expected that.” 

Priest Erwin Balagapo accompanied the Archbishop to his Vatican visit. When it all happened, he interrupted his studies in Rome to return to the Philippines because he had no news of his friends or family after the typhoon. What he saw upon arrival, was unforgettable. 

FR. ERWIN BALAGAPO
"Outside the airport I still saw several dead bodies. It was terrible. Since I had brought with me holy water and some things to bless the dead bodies. I went with my brother and blessed some of them.”

Turns out his family was safe and sound. He saw them that same night. Even though it was a joyful moment, they didn't celebrate out of respect for those who didn't have much to celebrate. 

FR.ERWIN BALAGAPO
"The damage of typhoon. I really saw destroyed houses and bodies in the streets and of course we prayed that evening. There was no lights.” 

Now he's back in Rome, working to rebuild his hometown from afar. The country's Episcopal Conference launched a program called "Adopt a parish " to collect funds to rebuild 70 local churches that were damaged by the typhoon.


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