“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Help, prayers needed as ‘Ompong” batters Baguio

Raging flood waters at Twin Peaks in Kennon Road, Benguet brought about by typhoon Ompong that made landfall in the early morning of September 15, 2018 and caused heavy damage to most of the northern provinces of Luzon. (A video grab from the FB of Cleo Opsimar Banez / Diocese of Baguio)

BAGUIO CITY, September 16, 2018–“Please continually pray for us!”

This is the first and foremost appeal of the coordinator of the Social Action Ministry of the Diocese of Baguio as unusually huge amounts of rain poured on Baguio City and outlying provinces of the Cordillera Region brought today by typhoon “Ompong” (International name “Mangkhut”).

“This kind of flooding in La Trinidad (Benguet) as well as for Baguio City is something new for us,” remarked Fr. Manuel G. Flores, director of the Diocesan Commission for Promoting Integral Human Development, in an interview with CBCP News.

It is estimated that, as of the afternoon of Sep. 15, “Ompong” has affected at least 34,808 families in Benguet province.

Caritas-Baguio responds

According to Flores the Diocese of Baguio, through its social action Caritas-Baguio, responded to some needs of the evacuees such as those at the Itogon National High School in Bua, Tuding, Itugon, Benguet which initially counted 55 families.

“We will continue our monitoring and assessment of the Itogon area and their evacuation concerns. Let us pray that there be no further casualties in this municipality. As per current record of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), there have been 4,” the Social Action director reported.

“There is an estimated 200 families that are in need of aid. Two main evacuation centers have been established: one in Tuding and another in Poblacion,” Flores disclosed.

“The concern now is to open the roads of Itogon that have been affected by landslides which rendered the barangays isolated,” the priest explained.

“Evacuating families and individuals had to brave the cold rain in order to reach the said evacuation centers. Government aid have been given but they are still in need of more relief goods,” Flores disclosed.

Sunday Masses in Baguio-Benguet

In consideration of the extraordinarily severe weather conditions the Social Action Ministry coordinator advised the faithful to give priority to their own safety and that of their families even on Sunday, a holy day of obligation.

“If you deem it unsafe to go out of your homes, you may simply offer your prayers with your family,” the priest said.

The Catholic Church has always taught that a “grave cause” is needed to excuse one from the obligation to hear Holy Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation.

Reasons such as the necessity to work to support one’s family, child care, personal sickness or the care of the sick, necessary travel etc. would excuse a person on a particular occasion.

According to Flores, masses in the parishes this Sunday will be upon the discretion of the parish priests as they consider foremost the safety of the parishioners and the conditions of the parish church.

Although, he assured that masses will continue to be held in Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral in Baguio City.

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