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Community rallies round as suffering continues

Filipino families attend Mass for hurricane dead

By Staff Reporter

West Belfast is pulling together to provide support and aid following the hurricane disaster in the Philippines that has left thousands dead.

Yesterday (Wednesday), a special Mass was held at St Peter’s Cathedral to pray for the dead and suffering following the destruction left in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Meanwhile, Lord Mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir opened a book of condolence in memory of the victims of the deadly storm. Councillor Ó Muilleoir signed the book at City Hall yesterday along with other Councillors.

Dozens of members of the local Filipino community filed into St Peter’s yesterday morning for the Mass, which was said by Fr Hugh Kennedy. They were joined by local parishioners and approximately 80 pupils from the nearby St Joseph’s Primary School, which has a 15 per cent Filipino population.

The pupils sang as people prayed and Fr Kennedy asked everyone to open their hearts to those who are suffering in the Philippines.

Speaking to the Andersontown News outside St Peter’s, Filipino Marjorie Bade, who lives on Broadway, said her family did not escape the devastation.

“I have cousins in the affected area and for so many days we heard nothing but thankfully we finally made contact with them,” she said.

“They have lost everything, they had to hold on to the ceiling as the water came so high but thankfully they are still alive.  The government is chartering a plane to Manila for people but the priority is for medical equipment and other goods so they will have to wait a while before they can get a flight to stay with our other cousins.”

The families of Gilbert Celestial and Manny Medenilla were thankfully not affected by the typhoon but they went to the St Peter’s Mass to show support for their fellow countrymen and women.

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