Lowcountry church holds special mass for Typhoon victims

By Nikki Gaskins

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- Ten days after a massive typhoon hit the Philippines, it's reported that four million people are displaced and desperately seeking food, shelter, and water.

Right now, the death toll reportedly stands at 3,900.

On Monday night, Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek held a special memorial service for the victims of the storm.

About half of the congregation is Filipino and many are still waiting to hear from family and friends.

During the service, tears fell as a song lifted the spirits of parishioners.

"We offer this mass for all the souls of those people who perished in Typhoon Haiyan," said one pastor at the church to the congregation.

"It's devastating. It's sad," said Lily Hanley, who attended the service.

Hanley has about 20 family members living in the area the typhoon hit the hardest. One did not survive.

"Their house collapsed and they were trapped in it," she said. "Whenever something wrong happens, the only place that you know that'll you'll find help and hope is in God."

She and others sought comfort Monday night from a higher power.

"This church has been very supportive to the Filipino community," said Hanley.

Her fellow parishioners share similar stories of despair.

"One of the parishioners was telling me that her brother- they're communicating with people that went into supply aid," said Hanley. "He saw a father with two children that had collapsed and died and they were wrapped around him."

For Pastor Jason Caganap, Monday's service provides a special chance to pray for the many souls lost in the disaster.

"For us here at Immaculate Conception, we're trying to do like a funeral mass for them," said Caganap. "Life is special. It's a gift from God and we have to take care of that because we don't know what can happen next."

It's something Hanley knows all too well as she continues to pray for those in her home country struggling to rebuild and live a normal life.

"A prayer that God will wrap his healing hands around all those and give comfort to them and be able to help them through this difficult time," said Hanley.

The church is currently accepting monetary donations as well as non-perishable items to send to the Philippines. To find out how you can help, contact the church at 843-572-1270.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off