CATHOLIC prelates in Bicol Region have expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for offering prayer for the Philippines and its people affected by successive typhoons.
Daet Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon said the Pope’s message will bring hope and assurance to the people that God is with them during these trying times.
“We are very glad to receive Pope Francis’ expression of closeness and solidarity. It brings hope and assurance of God’s closeness to us, especially to our brothers and sisters who suffer much from the wrath of the recent typhoons,” he said in an interview over church-run Radio Veritas.
Alarcon, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Youth (CBCP-ECY), said aside from material needs, the typhoon victims need spiritual and moral support.
“In addition to our material needs, we need the moral and spiritual support to lift our spirits. More than our eyes can see, the moral-spiritual support and bond with the Holy Father and many others, as well as the material support, are witness to our being brothers and sisters, sharing a common humanity,” Alarcon said.
He added that the pontiff’s expression of oneness with the sufferings of the Filipinos is practicing the Fratelli Tutti or being a brother to all by encouraging those who are feeling weak to stand up and start anew.
Alarcon said the presence of Pope Francis is also very important, which he also did when he expressed his compassion, mercy, and love to victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
“What we feel is that the Holy Father is with us, giving us strength to carry the cross and rise up again,” he said. “We felt his closeness and solidarity. Once again, we feel we are not alone. The presence and assurance of a father is very important for the family, especially the young, the children, and the most vulnerable.”
For his part, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon is hoping that the message of the Holy Father will inspire the people to help each other and conquer these adversities.
“May his oneness and sincere concern inspire in us the same spirit of solidarity to work together with renewed hope in our efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate our respective communities. God bless Pope Francis!” he said.
Baylon also thanked Pope Francis for praying for and remembering the country.
“Deeply grateful & appreciative of the Holy Father’s expression of solidarity & prayers for our people in the midst of this difficult time,” he said.
On Sunday, Pope Francis has offered prayers for the country after being hit by another typhoon, “Ulysses”.
In his tweet, Pope Francis expressed sympathy and concern to the thousands of Filipinos affected by storm that brought flooding in some parts of the country.
Super Typhoon Rolly devastated Bicol Region, particularly Catanduanes, Albay and Camarines Sur provinces. Philippine News Agency