Fr Gus gives us an update on how Fr German is still unable to reach his family and how Good Shepherd parish is reaching out to their sisters and brothers in need… Join us in helping them.

Fr German has not yet made it home. Though he spent more than 24 hours at the air base here in Manila, he failed to get a place on one of the military cargo planes; they were prioritising the army personnel and emergency relief. He then crossed the city to try and get a place on a bus, but failed again. He returned here to the parish last night in low spirits. But good news, great news came some hours later – his immediate family are safe. We thank God. A 1st cousin who was unable to get out of his home on time was killed, and 2 aunts are still unaccounted for.

There are 4 houses in his family compound – the family home and 3 other houses of his siblings and in-laws. Two houses are destroyed, a third badly damaged. But one withstood the terror of the storm, and that is what saved them, though the water was above knee level. Communication is still sparse, as they have no electricity and run out of batteries.

The other good news – he received a text an hour ago from his niece, a teacher here in our parish, who was on that vehicle that left on Monday night with food and other essential items; it has just reached his home, 60 hours later! So he is much relieved.

German has now got a ticket for a commercial flight to the neighbouring larger island of Cebu for Saturday. He feels he can make it home from there.

Stories keep coming of how the tragedy has affected families directly. One of the graphic pictures that has featured on the news is of a large fishing boat that was tossed up out of the sea and landed on a row of small houses. A man came to our parish office this morning requesting masses and prayers; his relatives were in those houses – 9 of them perished. God be merciful to them all.

Meanwhile all our parishes are busy with purchasing and packing relief goods. We hope to send more supplies as we gather sufficient for another truck or join with other parishes in getting supplies there as quickly as possible.

And we continue as best as we can with our regular activities this month – 60 children for First Communion tomorrow, 260 candidates for Confirmation on Saturday, and 22 couples for the ‘multiple wedding’ next Wednesday and Thursday.  God gives us the strength.

If you would like to support the SMA effort in the Philippines click here to make a donation. Click on the The Greatest Need option. Your full donation – no deduction for bank charges etc – will be sent to Fr Gus to purchase what is needed to help. Thank You.

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