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25 new chapels to rise in Yolanda-hit areas

MANILA, September 12, 2014—The Catholic Church’s social service arm Caritas Manila spearheads the construction of 25 new multipurpose chapels in parts of Samar and Leyte where typhoon Yolanda unleashed her ferocity, killing thousands of people and wrecking whole towns and villages.

Caritas Manila director Fr. Anton Pascual shares each chapel, which measures a minimum of 100 square meters in floor area, costs roughly P1 million, and is being built from funds raised through RISE, a charity concert led by Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle in June.

A success, the RISE concert was able to bag as much as P20 million in funds, excluding P5 million donated by an unnamed Good Samaritan.

According to Pascual, besides their bigger size, these so-called RISE chapels differ from ordinary chapels for their durability, using only quality materials in their construction.

Although designed primarily as houses of worship, Pascual explains the chapels can also function as multipurpose halls and evacuation centers when the need for them arises, particularly in emergency cases.

Almost a year after the onslaught, the priest reports that the Church continues her rehabilitation efforts in areas ravaged by Yolanda.

Experts predict that Samar and Leyte need 3-5 years to fully recover.

“While the Church’s rehabilitation program are ongoing, we also give Yolanda survivors spiritual counseling. We also have an extensive program in partnership with local and international Church organizations like Catholic Relief Services [CRS], CBCP-NASSA [Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace], Caritas International, and social action groups from various dioceses,” said Pascual. (Raymond A. Sebastián)