By Daniel Infante Tuaño
SPAIN – A Sunday mass was celebrated in Antoni Gaudi’s world-renowned basilica, Sagrada Familia, in honor of the victims of super typhoon Yolanda.
The mass, usually attended by more than 4,000 faithful, was officiated by the Archbishop of Barcelona Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach.
Cardinal Sistach offered prayers and expressed his sympathies to families and friends of the victims of the tragedy.
He also said that the collections in the mass, which coincided with the closing of the Year of Faith, would be donated to the victims.
On the website of the Archbishop of Barcelona, he urged everyone to help the Philippines.
“We have to help the Philippines in cash donations or in prayers due to the serious consequences of the typhoon. My condolences, prayers and support to the Filipino people,” Cardinal Sistach said in Spanish and Catalan.
Pinoy Church Iglesia de San Agustin
The day before, Cardinal Sistach also officiated another mass in the Filipino Personal Parish Barcelona, Inmaculada Concepción y San Lorenzo Ruiz or popularly known as Iglesia de San Agustin.
Cardinal Sistach also offered prayers and expressed his condolences. He reminded the gift of faith the Filipinos have amidst the calamities that have struck the country.
The Saturday solidarity mass, organized by a federation of Filipino associations in Barcelona Kapulungan ng mga Lider Pinoy sa Barcelona (KALIPI), was attended by local public officials, non-governmental organizations leaders, relatives of typhoon victims and the Filipino community who braved the rain to offer prayers and donations.
Lhyna Ramos from Tacloban City, who currently resides in Barcelona and had lost contact with her family for a few days, offered a candle during the mass.
“Masaya ako na okay yung pamilya ko pero siyempre kahit na okay sila malungkot pa rin kasi nagkahiwa-hiwalay sila. Malungkot pa rin, siyempre nasasaktan ako para dun sa mga kababayan ko, kalugar ko, mga kaibigan, kilala ko, na hindi sila naka-survive. Yung mga bata, ang sakit-sakit, nawalan sila ng magulang, nawalan sila ng anak, nawala lahat sa kanila,” Ramos said.
“It’s a shame that after the earthquake, you have to suffer this new catastrophe but I’m confident, I believe that the Filipino people are strong enough to overcome the bad things that happened the last time,” said Miquel Mateu, director of Asia-Pacific department of the Barcelona City Council.
Approximately 1850 euros (around P109,000) were collected and will be coursed through Philippine Catholic Church’s National Secretariat for Social Action.
Aside from this amount, Paulita Astillero, president of KALIPI, reported that donations amounting to 1200 euros (around P70,000) were already received in the account the federation had opened for the victims of the calamity.
Caritas Diocesana de Barcelona, meanwhile, has already raised almost 150,000 euros (around P8.8 milion) which will be coursed through Caritas Philippines according to its Ciutat Vella director Juana Martin.
Iglesia de San Agustin still receives relief goods after having sent 13 boxes of canned goods and clothes to the Philippines.
“Ipinagdasal natin ang mga biktima na mabigyan ng pagkakataon, mabigyan ng lakas na babangon ulit, ipinagdasal din natin ang mga tumutulong na kahit papaano sana ay magampaman nila ang kaulukang misyon at ipagdasal din natin ang mga tutulong pa. At higit sa lahat huwag nating kalimutan na kahit anong mangyari kasama natin ang Diyos,” said Fr. Eliza Cielo, one of the priests who celebrated the mass. ABS-CBNnews.com