Fil-Ams in DC join prayers for Haiyan victims

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014. Filed under: Local News
Haiyan Commemoration: Fr Willie Ducusin leads the Filipino-American Community in prayer during a commemorative mass at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. to remember the victims of Typhoon Yolanda which struck the Central Philippines last year. (Philippine Embassy Photo by Elmer G. Cato)

Haiyan Commemoration: Fr Willie Ducusin leads the Filipino-American Community in prayer during a commemorative mass at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. to remember the victims of Typhoon Yolanda which struck the Central Philippines last year. (Philippine Embassy Photo by Elmer G. Cato)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Filipino-American Community turned out in full force at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, to join their kababayans back home in praying for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

“As we move forward together, let us continue to pray for the people affected by Haiyan, and to pay our respects to all those who passed away by learning from this tragedy and building back better, more resilient communities,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. told members of the Filipino-American Community.

Almost 150 Filipino-Americans took part in the prayers at the Embassy’s Romulo Hall on Saturday evening. It was the biggest gathering of the Filipino-American Community in the Embassy in recent memory.

“I would like to reiterate our immense gratitude for the generosity of those who have and continue to contribute in meaningful ways to the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

He cited the US-Philippines Society led by its President John Maisto and Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition led by Co-Chairs Dr. Abraham Rasul and Victornia Navarro for “their tireless work, selfless commitment, and solidarity in supporting the communities affected by Haiyan.”

“The active participation of the Filipino-American Community is a model in its own right, living proof of what can be achieved through dedication, unity, and leadership,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

“Your response during a time of greatest need was overwhelming.  We will remain inspired by your active engagement even if the spotlight on Haiyan is no longer as intense as it was before.”

Ambassador Cuisia also thanked the US Government and the American people for their immediate response to the tragedy. He also cited the generous  contributions of the Vietnamese-American and Taiwanese-American Communities to the relief efforts.

The Ambassador gave special mention to Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, the Mammoth Medical Missions and Team Rubicon for being among the first to be on the ground to assist victims in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Saturday’s commemoration at the Embassy was in response to calls to participate in the National Day of Prayer in the Philippines. In addition to the Catholic mass celebrated by Fr. Willie Ducusin, prayers were also offered by Dr. Rasul for Muslims and Rev. Atty. Arnedo Valera for evangelical Christians.

“As relief, rehabilitation, rebuilding, restoration not only of infrastructure but of communities, relationships and life systems continue, the need beckons us to take part in this huge and challenging task,” Father Ducusin said in his homily.

“Rebuilding the devastated areas, and helping the affected regain their lives is a Christian imperative as it is participation in nation building. May we continue to help. May we continue to hope, and be agents of hope. May we continue to make our time the best of times, the age of wisdom, the epoch of belief, the season of Light, the spring of hope,” he said.

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