Two disasters have caused great damage, one natural and one man-made.  The typhoon that recently struck the Philippines brought untold damage, destruction of homes and some loss of life.  Our Diocese responded immediately by sending $50,000 for disaster relief to the Papal Nuncio there who reported that we were the first responders and asked me to thank all of you for your generosity.  Thanks to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and others, he wrote to me, the immediate emergency aid was prompt and those affected received food and water and hygienic supplies.  Now comes the time of rebuilding.  The Nuncio wrote that the Archbishop of Palo and the Bishop of Borogan both have distributed the funds from our Diocese to that task.  They send us their thanks and their prayers.  I promised them that as more donations come in, we will forward the financial help we receive.

From time to time I am able to find money that I send in your name to the suffering people of Syria, many of them Christian who have been the object of attacks from both sides in that conflict.  The Papal Nuncio in Damascus wrote to thank our Diocese and he adds: “We are experiencing a tsunami of suffering.  Among the countless victims, more than 11,000 little babies have been killed.  In a population of 23 million, 9.3 million are in need of humanitarian assistance and  more than 2 million are refugees inside their own country.”  Remembering Marie Colvin of Oyster Bay, a journalist killed early on, it should also be noted that 50 journalists have also been killed.

Please continue to pray for the victims in these two countries and in so many others where religious persecution and outright warfare are the marks of daily suffering.

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