Ric Aberion, a member of the Filipino Association of Rockland, said a Mass for typhoon victims in the Philippine held at St. Paul’s Church in Congers on Thursday had a surprise visit by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Msgr. Emmet Nevin, vicar of the Rockland, called for a Mass of healing and hope for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Members of 18 parishes in the county participated in the service, marked by the Philippine flag and prayers in Tagalog and the Visayan dialect. The dialect is spoken primarily in the region hardest hit by the storm.
The crowd was surprised by an unannounced visit by Dolan, who said he just “had to drop by and express his sympathies” when he learned about this Mass. He said the Filipinos were close and dear to him because they are a “lively lot” and the Philippines is the biggest Catholic nation in Southeast Asia.
Immediately following the mass, Mario Lopez De Leon Jr., the Philippine Consul General to New York, stood up at the pulpit and described how the Philippines was devastated by a historic storm. Four million people were displaced, and they need help, he said.
De Leon ended his speech, choking back his tears, saying, “If we all get together, the Filipino people will be back on their feet again.”
Photos and reporting by Ric Aberion