The Diocese of Dumaguete has urged its faithful to join in simultaneous Masses for those who died and those still missing because of typhoon Odette (Rai) that hit the Visayas and Mindanao last month.
In a circular, Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete said all parishes and chaplaincies in Negros Oriental and Siqujor will hold Masses “primarily” for the deceased victims of the typhoon at 6:00 a.m. on Jan. 24.
He said it will be a way for the diocese to concretize its collective “expression of love and solidarity” with those whose families and friends have died and are still missing.
Local authorities pegged the death toll at 77, with 14 still unaccounted.
Bereaved families are invited to submit the names of their dead at the nearest parish office and attend the celebration of the Mass.
“Let us also take this opportunity to offer our communal prayers for those persons still missing as well as for all affected families and communities,” said Bishop Cortes.
In Negros Oriental alone, about ten parishes and their communities were ravaged by the typhoon.
Father Hendrix Alar of the Diocese of Dumaguete Typhoon Odette Response Team said the disaster left 77,369 households partially damaged and 19,804 totally destroyed.
He said they have distributed relief packs, kitchenwares, hygiene, and sleeping kits to 25,997 families through the help of Caritas Philippines, the Social Action Commission of the diocese, and donations from various private and public groups and individuals.
Bishop Cortes reiterated his appeal for more help for those affected by the typhoon, especially communities in inland areas.
“The Diocese of Dumaguete has been doing and must continue to do to respond to the needs of our brethren – victims of the Typhoon Odette,” he said.