To the Churchwardens and People of San Lorenzo Ruiz parish.
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our hearts are heavy when we see the stories of the devastation caused in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan this week. In the midst of such destruction, we pray to Almighty God for all those involved – the survivors of the storm now seeking food, water and shelter; those who will be rebuilding their homes, schools and businesses; those who are bringing aid, medical care and comfort; those who are grieving so many losses. We also pray to God, our Saviour, for the souls of the beloved who have lost their lives in this tragedy. May they rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.
Please know that in your own anxiety and grief you are not alone. People across the Diocese of Toronto are praying with and for you, and are contributing funds to assist with the rescue and clean-up efforts. I remember you in my own prayers and have made a donation through FaithWorks to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) for aid to the emergency relief. Those funds also receive matching grants from the Canadian government.
Our prayers and actions are a tangible sign that the God we worship has not and does not abandon us at times like this. Indeed, in the midst of such suffering, Jesus, who suffered on the Cross for our redemption, draws very near through the presence of the Holy Spirit to comfort and console, to strengthen and sustain us. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul encourages us with these words:
“I am persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)
May you come to experience more fully God’s love for you at this time, through your worship together, in the company of your community, by the prayers of strangers and friends who uphold you and those you love.
God bless and keep you in his love.