Seven priests of the Archdiocese of Palo were ordained amid the ruins of the typhoon-ravaged Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in ceremonies on Tuesday.
Although Super Typhoon Haiyan caused the roof of the 16th-century cathedral to collapse and destroy much of the interior furnishings, Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du decided to ordain the priests in the church as a sign of hope for the Catholic community.
The ordination occurred as clergy and hundreds of faithful filled the church in bright sunshine. Blue lightweight coverings strung from the cathedral’s walls provided some shade for the congregation as the new priests vowed to serve the church and God in ministering to the people of the archdiocese.
Palo is located a few miles south of Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte, one of the provinces hit by the devastating storm earlier this month.
“We may have lost everything, but our faith is becoming stronger ever. No trial or storm or typhoon can destroy our resolve to have faith in Jesus. And it should be manifested in action,” Father Amadeo Alvero, the archdiocese’s spokesman, told the Asian church news agency UCA News.
He said the ordinations served as a “concrete action” to show the people’s faith in God despite the devastation brought about by Typhoon Haiyan that claimed more than 5,200 lives and left millions of people homeless.
The new priests will play a major role in helping Catholics reeling from the typhoon’s effects, he added.
Up to 95 percent of structures in Palo, including churches, were destroyed by the typhoon. The city of 62,000 is located a few miles south of Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte, one of the provinces affected by the storm.
“We are still not so sure where we will get the funds for the repairs considering that everybody here is a victim,” Father Alvero said.
Tacloban Deputy Mayor Jerry Yaokasin said the city council is already preparing a rehabilitation plan for the region. “The relocation site for housing will be our priority,” he told UCA News.