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 “We must turn our thoughts to the hundreds of thousands that are displaced, lost, suffering and have lost their lives from the catastrophe Typhoon Haiyan,” Msgr. Tom Wallace, director of the Mission Office, said in his message to the parishes. “We know our parishioners have a beautiful heart of obligation to help those in need.” 

 Collections were taken up beginning the weekend of Nov. 16 and 17. As of Dec. 11 the Mission office reported receiving approximately $246,447 in parish donations, $10,196 in private donations and $1,514 in donations coming from Catholic schools and local universities. 

 In addition to taking up second collections, the diocese held a special Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral on November 26 in which Bishop Gerald Barnes invited Catholic faithful to pray for those affected by the Typhoon. About 600 attended the Mass in Solidarity with the Philippines. 

 Some parishes led their own efforts in responding to the disaster. The newly formed Global Solidarity Ministry at St. George Parish, Fontana turned its full attention to bringing relief to the needy in the Philippines. 

 “We were starting to raise funds for those affected by the 7.2 earthquake in the Bohol area of the Philippines when a couple weeks later the Typhoon fell, it became a larger project,” said Naida Castro, an adviser and active member of the Global Solidarity Ministry.

 The ministry immediately began reaching out to their contacts and aligning with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns and other organizations to coordinate a response. Within weeks the parish ministry helped in organizing relief efforts, receiving sponsorships and donations from organizations, schools, businesses and corporations nationwide. 

 Through their solidarity work with partners the ministry has helped raise approximately $300,000, Castro said. The funds supported a relief caravan of volunteers to deliver food, water and medical aid to impacted communities in November. A second caravan was scheduled to reach more communities by Christmas.

 “It’s overwhelming,” Castro said. “I didn’t realize how solidarity works until now. I pray and hope that people will see how we can work together as one people of God.”

 The Global Solidarity Ministry continues its efforts and will be holding a benefit show on Jan. 19 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in San Bernardino to support its cause.