From the Philippines to Tooting

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The Catholic church was one of the first responders when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013 and Caritas Philippines responded by providing emergency supplies to over 275,000 people. They are now helping the people to rebuild their homes and their lives.

On Sunday 18 May Fr Edwin (Edu) Gariguez, Executive Secretary, and Neal Deles, Capacity Building Adviser, for Caritas Philippines,visited St Boniface Parish in Tooting to say thank you for the support the parish, and others across England and Wales, have given to the Philippines through CAFOD following Typhoon Haiyan. Parish Contact Peter Gilroy writes about what the visit meant to him and his parish:

As expected the weather at the weekend was brilliant sunshine and the atmosphere around St. Boniface church on Sunday 18 May was buzzing.


I met fellow CAFOD volunteer and member of the Filipino community Victor Ora and his lovely family at 10am and we all donned our CAFOD t-shirts and began setting up for a party in the garden next to the presbytery. Fr. Tom had kindly cut the grass for us the previous evening getting the hay fever season off to sneezing start!


Fr Edu, Neal and Lucy (CAFOD Emergency Programme Manager) arrived in the sunshine and warm welcome greetings were shared.  Fr. Tom also gave a very special welcome to Fr. Edu and showed him around the sacristy. We weren’t expecting this but Fr. Edu was willing and able to concelebrate both at 10.30 and 12 noon Mass.


The Masses spilled out onto the streets of Tooting and many Parishioners wanted to say hello to Fr. Edu and thank him for his kind words of thank you from the pulpit and wish him well for the near future.


Outside the church and during the Masses friends and family of our amazing Philippine brothers and sisters were arriving every 10minutes bringing stacks of aromatic delights for the welcome celebration and filling the tables. After 12 noon Mass all the congregation were invited to the party. After all if the Queen can have a garden party why can’t we?!


A lovely time was had by all, we managed to ‘feed the 5000’, many new friendships were made and Fr. Edu and his friends left to continue their journey back to the Philippines knowing that the Parish of St. Boniface hold them in their hearts.


Thank you Fr. Edu for visiting our Parish, thank you Eileen and CAFOD for thinking of us, thank you Fr. Tom for being so supportive and enthusiastic, and of course a super huge thank you to Victor and family, Lelei, Carina and all your close friends and family (too many to mention here!) for a wonderful and memorable day.