Letter from the Philippine Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma to the Prior General and Carmelite Family
TO: Rev. Fr. Fernando Millan Romeral, O.Carm.
Prior General and the General Council
Rev. Fr. Carl Markelz, O.Carm.
Reverend Father Provincials, Commissaries, Priors and Mother Prioresses
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Carmel:
Sad Greetings from the Philippines! Facing these realities that hit us in less than a month, we are doubly shocked as a nation and as a people.
While we are still recovering from the aftermath of the 7.8 richer scale earthquake that hit Central Visayas, particularly in the island- provinces of Bohol and Cebu last October 15, 2013 where millions were affected as their houses, buildings, roads, bridges and churches collapsed and destroyed. There were also hundreds of deaths and injuries from the said provinces.
The Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph, our nuns’ monastery in Lila, Bohol has so far no major cracks in their buildings, but most importantly our nuns are safe. But the houses of our six (6) Carmelite Friars and one (1) Associate who hail from Bohol were either completely damaged or partially damaged. The San Alberto Carmelite Formation Center, our monastery and seminary in Cebu City had also some cracks in some parts of its buildings (flooring, walling, ceiling, etc.), while rehabilitation and repairs are being planned, the strongest typhoon this year struck the country three days ago.
On November 8, 2013, Friday, typhoon HAIYAN ( Yolanda) hit Central Philippines and had six (6) land falls in Central Philippines with more 340kms/hour and its magnitude is more than 200 kms. The typhoon brought strong wind, heavy rains, storm surge and debris flow left thousands dead and missing in the devastated provinces, cities and towns in the Visayas and in Palawan before it exited thru the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) on its way to Vietnam yesterday, November 9. The immediate needs now in evacuation centers are food, water, medicines, tents, etc.
So far, our Carmelite Friars and Associates are safe in these affected places and there was no reported casualty from the Carmelite Family. However, our houses (monastery, center, parish, school) were badly damaged that needed immediate repairs and reconstruction. The badly damaged structures are:
1. ORMOC CITY, LEYTE. The Carmelite Spirituality Center in Ormoc City, Leyte where or house, chapel, garage have completely no roofs, ceilings, some parts of the walls had cracked and collapsed. In the meantime, our friars temporarily stay in a tent. The houses of our Lay Carmelites of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in downtown Ormoc City were also damaged and partly destroyed.
2. ESCALANTE CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL: Mount Carmel Monastery in Escalate City, Negros Occidental including our parishes in Escalante: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Sta. Cruz Mission Station together with the Chapels of our Basic Christian Communities were either completely or partly damaged. Some houses of our lay parish lay leaders were also badly damaged. Some parts of Mount Carmel College buildings and in the Magdalen Wellness Center-Carmelites were also affected and partly destroyed (roofing, ceiling, windows, etc.), including the uprooted trees and plants damaged.
3. ROXAS CITY, CAPIZ: We have already received an update from our nuns from the Carmelite Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Roxas City, Capiz which is also devastated by the typhoon. They are fine but the neighbors are still in need of food, water, electricity, and difficult telecommunication signal, etc.
We are appealing to all our Carmelite brothers and sisters, and all who have kind and generous hearts to please help us in this time of needs where our country had suffered heavily from the recent natural calamities-- earthquake and typhoon.
In this regard, we appeal for whatever financial aid you can give and share to partly support the victims’ immediate needs, such as food, water, medicines, etc. who are presently in evacuation centers and the immediate replacements and repairs of our houses—its roofing, ceiling, walling, flooring, windows, doors and strengthening in some building posts.
The Province has created the Task Force CarmelCARE to take charge of the relief & rehabilitation, and the task of replacements & repairs of our houses. We are really in need of your kind support and please continue praying for us; especially those who died from the typhoon and earthquake, those who are still missing, and to those who are grieving.
May the Lord be with us in this time of mourning, healing, hoping and rebuilding.
May the Lord bless all our endeavors and undertakings.
May the Lady of Mount Carmel protect us in her loving maternal care.
Fraternally in Carmel,
Rev. Fr. Christian B. Buenafe, O.Carm. and Provincial Council
Philippine Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma