* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Once again, we have witnessed the catastrophic power of the nature that in less than one month hit the same area twice (Central – Southern Visayas) in the Philippines. On October 15th, a devastating earthquake and then on November 7th, the Typhoon Haiyan hit the Nation, sweeping away people and property in its course. The death toll is in the thousands, while the survivors struggle to put together what is left of their lives.
Our prayers and solidarity go to all the Filipino seafarers miles away from their loved ones, not knowing their fate. We praise many of our AOS Centers around the world that have provided free telephone cards and internet access to allow Filipino seafarers to contact their families. Many of our AOS chaplains have celebrated Masses for the deceased, and have helped the seafarers make sense of such devastation and turmoil.
We appreciate that Carnival Cruise has requested AOS deploy Catholic chaplains on board of several of their ships to support Filipino crews.
The great family of AOS would like to show its closeness and manifest its solidarity to the Filipino people. Therefore, as it was done for the tsunami that struck the coast of Japan in 2011, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, which is responsible for the overall direction of the Apostleship of the Sea, has decided to set up a special fund with an initial contribution 10,000 (ten thousands) US dollars. The fund will support long-term reconstruction projects, to be realized in cooperation with AOS – Philippines, benefiting the people of the sea in the affected areas when, after the initial weeks of emergency, people will have to return to their “normal” life.
We would also be grateful if you could share this initiative, giving it all the exposure that you deem fits. In advance, we express our sincere thanks for your support and generosity, asking Mary, Star of the Sea, to bless this initiative.
Antonio Maria Card. Vegliò
X Joseph Kalathiparambil Secretary