by Margaux Salcedo
Archbishop Charles John Brown, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, flew to Surigao and celebrated mass at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Del Carmen on Siargao Island on Christmas Day, after celebrating Christmas Eve mass at the Shrine of the Our Lady of the Abandoned - Marikina.
Watch his message here:
This is following the message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the 4th Sunday of Advent praying for those affected by Typhoon Rai/Odette.
The Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Del Carmen is the oldest parish of the Diocese of Surigao, established in 1635 as a mission station by the early Spanish Missionaries and among the oldest outposts of Christianity in Mindanao.
Archbishop Brown was welcomed to Siargao by Bishop Antonieto Cabajog.
He was also able to greet the locals affected by the typhoon. After the mass at Del Carmen, he visited all the parishes in Siargao with Bishop Cabajog.
On Holy Family Sunday, December 26, Archbishop Brown held Mass in Dapa before going by boat to Surigao where he presided over the 11:00 a.m. Mass at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, also known as the Surigao Cathedral. The cathedral's roof caved in as an effect of the typhoon.
Siargao was among the areas most affected by Typhoon Odette. This photo taken on December 16, 2021, by Roel Catoto show the sport complex building in Dapa, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte whose roof collapsed at the height of Super Typhoon Odette.
But the faithful forged on with a formidable Christmas spirit in a purely candle-lit mass as the province was without electricity for Simbang Gabi at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish also known as the Surigao Cathedral.
On December 27, Feast of the Holy Family, he is scheduled to visit Dinagat Island.
Typhoon Odette entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility last December 14 and made nine landfalls in Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Palawan before exiting the country.
As of December 24, Friday, the death toll due to Typhoon Odette has reached 326, while 58 are still missing based on official numbers from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).
Photos: Facebook; Cong Bingo Matugas;
Roel Catoto; AFP; Carl Marc Gesta; Dennish Ilogo