WASHINGTON--Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will travel with a delegation to the Philippines, February 2-7. Over the course of the trip, U.S. Church officials will see recovery efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck November 8, 2013. The trip is organized and sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the international relief and humanitarian agency of the U.S. bishops, who mounted an emergency response within hours of the typhoon.
The delegation will visit the Tacloban area, which suffered extensive damage in Typhoon Haiyan. In Tacloban and other communities, the delegation will meet with Church officials, visit damaged churches, meet with survivors of the typhoon and view firsthand the emergency response programs run by CRS. The delegation also plans to meet with leaders of the Church in the Philippines, including Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila and Archbishop Socrates Villegas, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
Other members of the delegation will include Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the CRS board, Carolyn Woo, president of CRS, Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, general secretary of the USCCB, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, associate general secretary of USCCB.
On November 11, 2013, following the typhoon, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, then-president of USCCB, wrote to U.S. bishops, urging them to take up special collections for the Philippines, which have raised $7.2 million for humanitarian relief and church rebuilding and $2.9 million strictly for humanitarian relief. To date, CRS has received over $50 million in donations, including $27 million from bishops and dioceses. More information on the CRS response to Typhoon Haiyan, including how to donate, is available online: http://crs.org/typhoon-haiyan/
Archbishop Kurtz and USCCB will post updates from the Philippines online on Archbishop Kurtz's blog (www.archlou.org/archbishopkurtzblog/), USCCB's blog (http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com), Instagram (http://instagram.com/usccb), Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/usccb and http://twitter.com/ArchbishopKurtz). Updates will also be available at http://newswire.crs.org/ and http://twitter.com/crsnews for updates.