Belfast Telegraph

Ligoniel church filled for special service of support

By Dave Whelan

UP TO 30 Filipino families were joined by hundreds of parishioners in north Belfast this weekend at a special service dedicated to victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

The St Vincent De Paul Church in Ligoniel was swollen to capacity as the local community joined together for a service celebrated by Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor.

A week after the tragedy struck killing over 3,000 people and injuring 12,000, aid has begun reaching those stranded in the Philippines.

Parish priest of the St Vincent De Paul parish, Fr Patrick Devlin said that the parishioners had been overwhelming in their support for the local Filipino community and those injured in the Philippines in the last week and this was reflected in the church being filled to capacity for their 11am service.

"We have around 25 to 30 Filipino families in our community and our doors were open to anyone who wished to come along and pray with us and lend their support.

"From my experience the Filipino community are faithful, prayerful and most importantly hopeful people and a service is what they wanted and needed."

Father Devlin said that there had been full involvement from across the congregation including prayers lead from SVP Primary School and a testimony from local Filipino woman Dr Lilac O'Hara before Bishop Treanor spoke to the congregation on the importance of church, faith and solidarity.

Dr Lilac O'Hara told those gathered: "It is at this time that Filipinos all over the world show unity and solidarity to help our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.

"We are so grateful and so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and assistance that we have received from people all over the world, from our colleagues, our local community and the local churches."

A representative from the charity, Trocaire, told the congregation that £145,000 had so far been raised locally for the emergency relief fund.

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