12/04/2004, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Archbishop of Manila makes a call for prayer and action on behalf of typhoon victims

by Sonny Evangelista

Clergyman dies in Infanta trying to rescue flood victims.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Mgr Gaudencio B. Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, has made a "call to prayer and action" on behalf of those who were severely affected by the typhoons which hit several provinces in north-eastern Philippines causing over a thousand dead and missing.

In a circular letter sent to all priests of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Rosales called for the implementation of a plan for all the people affected by flooding. Special attention, he wrote, must be given to the urban poor of Metro Manila. The latest typhoon brushed the capital city Thursday night, forcing several families living by Manila Bay to seek shelter in evacuation centers.

Archbishop Rosales directed all his priests to lead the faithful in praying "for the intercession of Mary, our Immaculate Mother," and spare the country from harm. He also asked them to tell their parishioners to share whatever they have with those who are experiencing hardships because of the typhoon. He especially called for donations of food, blankets, mattresses and dry clothing to be sent to Caritas Manila.

The latest typhoon, named Yoyong (international code name: Nanmadol), is now slowly moving away after landing on northern Luzon Island. Because of heavy rains, strong winds and landslides several towns were isolated for several days. Infanta, in Quezon, was on one these. Only yesterday the town was reached by military rescue helicopters which brought in relief supplies to the residents.

However, for many help took too long. Fr. Charlito Colendres, chancellor for the Prelature of Infanta, died Monday while trying to save other persons from drowning. He had tied one end of a rope to a tree and threw the other end to the people caused in the flash floods but was himself swept away by the surging waters.

Speaking to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Deacon Mario von Loon, coordinator of the Prelature's communications center, said that "Father Colendres' sacrifice was typical of this priest who had dedicated his life to serving and building a church of the poor."

For his part, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa used his mobile phone to send a brief message to his priests and faithful: "God is good!" the electronic message read. "He heard our prayers again. Our Eucharist and Rosary must however go on for the victims of these disasters and for peace and God-centered prosperity in all our land."

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