Help for Taal Batangas Evacuees

By: Bro. Ramie Bernardo & Bro. Lito Perello

(Shrine of Jesus donates Php 500K, truckload of relief goods)

It was afternoon of January 12 when Taal Volcano erupted, sending a plume of steam and sulfur skyward, and releasing ash 14 kilometers into the air. The ash fall reached as far as the Shrine of Jesus just after the 5:30 PM Sunday Mass. Churchgoers wondered why there were sandy-like particles falling from the sky.

The authorities later on ordered a “total evacuation” of around thousands of people residing in the 14-kilometer radius danger zone. This prompted our beloved Shrine Rector, Rev. Msgr. Bobby Canlas to organize a relief operation and to take immediate action after receiving a text message from the office of Archbishop-Emeritus, Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, DD., on January 14. The good Cardinal said people affected by this catastrophic event needed support and assistance.

On January 17 barely three days after the text message of appeal from the Office of Cardinal Rosales, our Rector, Msgr. Bobby Canlas with the help of Shrine of Jesus’ Service Ministry was able to prepare a truck of relief goods and had it transported directly to the Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Commission (LASAC), which served as the Taal Volcano eruption relief operations center.

The truck was loaded with boxes of blankets, sleeping mats, sandos and t-shirts for children, face masks, toiletries, noodles, canned goods, milk, juice, drinking water, and bath and laundry soap, among others.

The LASAC center is where relief goods are being received, repacked and distributed.   Everyone from the Shrine of Jesus was surprised and moved by our dear Cardinal Rosales, who patiently waited on the highway outside the seminary gate for the Shrine delegation to arrive.  

Along with Most Rev. Gilbert Garcera, DD, the Archbishop of Lipa, Cardinal Rosales acknowledged and received the relief goods. The Shrine volunteers then started to unload all the relief goods from the truck to the storage area.

An act of God like this eruption shall be a reminder of the importance of helping each other even in simple ways. 

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