MANILA, Philippines - With many Catholic charity groups joining the massive humanitarian effort for the victims of Supertyphoon "Yolanda," a prayer support network has donated a different kind of relief item-rosaries.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the prolife movement, Rosaries for Life, sent an initial 3,000 rosaries "to fill the spiritual necessities" of those affected by the killer typhoon in Tacloban City.
Rosaries for Life was founded in 1992 by Winifred Powers of New York as a prayer support group to stop massive depopulation through abortion and contraception. It has spread to 27 countries, including the Philippines.
"We know that through prayer somehow we will survive as a people and persevere in life. The primacy of the spiritual dimension in our lives must be emphasised to our people. We, of course know that the physical necessities of life are important but also important is the spiritual side of the people in this recent calamity," said William Lorenzo, Rosaries for Life communications officer.
Lorenzo said the group will also offer prayers for the dead and the survivors and send members to visit the typhoon-affected areas.
CBPB media office director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio blessed the rosaries before they were shipped to Tacloban on Friday.
Rosaries will also be shipped to the Samar provinces, which were also hit by the typhoon.
The rosaries will be packed along with the relief goods to be sent to the Visayas by Catholic relief institutions around the world, led by Caritas Philippines and its overseas counterparts, Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Asia and Caritas Africa.
"Our prayers are with the people of the Philippines. They are a people who have suffered many natural disasters in the past, always with great resilience and faith," the CBCP quoted Caritas Internationalis president Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga as saying.
Isao Yama Kikuchi, regional president of Caritas Asia, and Jacques Dinan, Caritas Africa executive secretary, also expressed their condolences and said they were mobilizing their members groups to contribute to the relief effort.
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, composed of the Catholic Relief Services and Caritas England and Wales, was among the first to send food aid to typhoon victims via Caritas Philippines and CBCP-Nassa, whose team reached Leyte by boat on Nov. 10.