A Campus Lenten Project: Housing Relief After the Typhoon in the Philippines

What does it cost to put a family in a home?

For a family in Cebu, the Philippines, a family that still is struggling to pull a life together after history’s most powerful storm hit land in November 2013, it’s only $300.

During the Lenten season, that’s an amount big groups could raise and small groups could collaborate to raise together, said the Rev. Dan Walsh, C.S.Sp., director of Spiritan Campus Ministry. It’s an amount that schools and departments could develop.

It’s achievable.

The goal fits with the Duquesne mission and would help Spiritan work in the Philippines, Walsh said. Plus, it fits with the three Church disciplines of Lent: prayers, fasting and almsgiving.

We might think about helping those in need and look around our own neighborhoods. But especially with Duquesne’s worldwide Spiritan connections, we could also help those 13 time zones and about 8,600 miles away.

Devastating Typhoon Yolanda, which killed more than 5,600 people when it roared through Southeastern Asia last November, has left thousands struggling. Many have scavenged pieces of buildings to put a tarp over their heads. A hard life in the Filipino slums is made even harder in the wake of such massive devastation, since immediate relief efforts are past.

Walsh read about the ongoing efforts by the Spiritans based in the Philippines, thought about the generosity and rich spirit on campus, and believed that the campus community might take this initiative under its wing, as part of its Lenten observance.

There’s a special reason to contribute during Lent, Walsh explained. “Giving alms opens ourselves to the needs of others. Sometimes, the needs of others are more important than our own personal comfort,” Walsh said. “The needs of people who are devastated might be more important than my fancy coffee.”

Lent offers a time to grow in understanding, to advance in our awareness of others’ needs and to stand in solidarity with them.

“Solidarity,” said Walsh,” is the virtue of our time.”

To learn more about the opportunities to help support the building of temporary housing in the Philippines, contact Spiritan Campus Ministry at 412.396.6020 or Walsh.