The Philippine Story – a story of Resurrection #3
While in the Philippines, I had the honour of meeting many of the recipients and in the name of all the donors receiving the thanks of the people.
The Bantayan Island people invited us to a blessing ceremony of the boats. On our arrival off the ferry, we were met by a crowd carrying banners expressing thanks for the support. The fishermen displayed a large poster that read: ‘Thank You Sisters of Mercy for helping us.’ Their boats carry two logos – on one side Sisters of Mercy and on the other Back to the Sea.
On the evening after the blessing, the boats put to sea and the next morning we were gifted with fish from the first catch as a mark of gratitude and blessing. All day, processions of people came to say thanks. On the way home we called to Mendellin in Northern Cebu, where the crowds gathered to collect more roofing. We visited a house built with Mercy support funds for a family who have a very ill child and the thanks of the parish there was expressed by the singing of a wonderful choir. In Basey, Samar, we attended the official opening and blessing of 30 houses as well as a number of boats. The joy of the families was beyond bounds as they cut the ribbons on their front doors and sang and prayed in thanksgiving. The occasion merited a fiesta, at which a roasted suckling pig was the main dish. No greater honour could be offered.
The people we met spoke, strange as it may seem, of the blessings of Yolanda. Again Sr. Letty captures this wonderfully:
How have these Devastations – these experiences of Loss, Despair, Anguish - Recreated us as a people, as humanity?
What Dark Grace have we received from the unprecedented tragedy we have suffered during the Year of Faith?
Selfless generosity – in every way there is…
A shared humanity bound by compassion and solidarity beyond national and cultural differences with one single purpose: to save, to heal, to protect, to rebuild…
A shared faith beyond religious affiliations, becoming One Body, One Spirit, … being Bread: broken, shared and consumed … in all our efforts to be human and loving, eucharistic grace is always surrounding us, enfolding us, empowering us, and consecrating us.
Discovering that Powerlessness is Power before a God who awaits to Save, to Provide, to Recreate.
Realizing that Any Event, no matter how dark and nearly impossible to accept, when faced with a “faith that is invincible even in the darkest winter”, can become the table of the Eucharist where we receive from each other, the wine of God’s energy and the bread of His compassion. With His power within us, our hearts are full and overflow into other hearts… and We Light Up The World.
And she concludes with a message to all who have responded in love and generosity to the suffering of the people of the Philippines.
We at MIA make this our message of thanks to all who donated to the Mercy Philippine Support Fund.
WE HAVE NOTHING IN OUR HEARTS BUT DEEP GRATEFULNESS TO GOD AND TO ALL OF YOU FOR HELPING US, REBUILDING THE LIVES OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND CHILDREN WHO ARE SURVIVORS OF TYPHOON YOLANDA.
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA