Typhoon Ruby victims invited to meet #PopeFrancisPH
“We share their difficulty,” Monsignor Rex Ramirez, executive secretary of the Palo Archdiocese committee for the papal visit, told Rappler in inviting victims of the recent strong typhoon that hit Samar island.
The theme of the papal visit, after all, is “mercy and compassion,” Ramirez stressed.
The Typhoon Ruby victims who will have an audience with the Pope are yet to be identified, according to Ramirez. Some of them will be part of a smaller group of about 50 typhoon survivors who will have lunch with the Pope on January 17 at the Archbishop's Residence in Palo.
Pope’s itinerary not affected
Other victims from Samar island will join another papal audience of about 1,500 people, including priests, nuns, and seminarians at the Palo Cathedral at about 3:30 pm.
"We are also trying to extend assistance (to Samar island), the same help extended to us in time of our difficulty after after Yolanda."
All others who wish to see the Pope can attend the concelebrated Mass to be held near the Tacloban airport in the morning.
Ramirez said nearly 80,000 people from Leyte, Samar, and other Visayas and Mindanao areas are expected to show up for the Mass in Tacloban, ground zero of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
The Pope’s itinerary in Tacloban and Palo was not affected by Typhoon Ruby, Ramirez noted. (READ: Vatican releases Pope's Philippine itinerary)
Happy for fellow Warays
Catholic devotees in Leyte, who feared Pope Francis will not be able to come because of Typhoon Ruby, are grateful the papal visit will push through.
Ina Dapuran, an 18-year-old Catholic devotee from Tacloban City, and her friends say many young people like them are excited over the visit. They welcomed the generosity of the church extended to their fellow Warays across the island.
“Masakit nga nasalanta guihap an mga taga-Samar (It’s painful to see that the people of Samar island were also affected by a typhoon),” said Dapuran, who experienced hunger and thirst after Typhoon Yolanda almost flattened Tacloban.
“I'm happy that they will be given another hope to recover from the disaster through their meeting with Pope Francis,” Dapuran said in Waray.
Relief for Ruby victims
Priests in the predominantly Catholic province said Pope Francis deeply inspired the people of Leyte during the Yolanda tragedy.
During Typhoon Ruby, Catholic devotees in the province asked the Pope to again pray for Eastern Visayas.
The Catholic Church is one of the active humanitarian institutions in Leyte. The archdiocese has already organized relief operations for neighboring Samar island, according to Ramirez.
“We are also trying to extend assistance (to Samar island), the same help extended to us during the time of our difficulty after Yolanda,” Ramirez said.
At least 11 people were killed and about two million Filipinos were affected by Typhoon Ruby, which made landfall in Samar. – Rappler.com