Palo (AsiaNews) – Two churches in the Archdiocese of Palo destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 have recently been designated pilgrim churches for the Jubilee Year of Mercy inaugurated on 8 December.
In a decree issued by Palo Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du, the renovated Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration in Palo and the Sto. Niño Church in Tacloban City were declared pilgrim churches among the eight other churches in the archdiocese. Here the faithful can obtain plenary indulgence.
The two churches are located on Leyte, Visayas Islands, which were hit by Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) in November of 2013. At least 5,000 were killed according to government figures. In total, 11 million people were affected, with a million evacuees and about 2.5 million (including 110,000 children) left without food.
By such a designation, Archbishop Du wants to bring the Jubilee’s message of mercy to places still bearing the scars left by Yolanda. Overall, 200,000 housing units must still be built.
The prelate urged the faithful to take seriously the ''ABC of mercy" proposed for the Holy Year, which is A, as in ‘Ask for the Mercy of God’, B, as in ‘Be Merciful’, and C, as in ‘Create a Structure of Mercy’.
For Mgr Rex Ramirez, vicar general of the archdiocese, these are "the practical ways and actions that will help us make the Year of Mercy relevant and fruitful.”
On Wednesday, the Church also began raising funds for its weekly La Mesa ni Marta outreach programme, which, among other things, provides scholarships to poor youth in the parish as well as moneys for disaster response and youth ministry activities.
The designation of these pilgrim churches was done in accordance with Pope Francis’ decree. In it, the pontiff enjoins each diocese to name its cathedral and other big churches for the Jubilee and open the Door of Mercy (Porta Sancta) for the pilgrims.
Fr Wilson Chu, co-parish priest at Sto. Niño Church, said that churchgoers with the proper disposition can obtain plenary indulgence on the same day if they confess, receive the sacrament, pray for the Holy Father’s intentions, and enter the Door of Mercy.