PALO, Leyte- “This is my way of showing my gratitude that my siblings and other relatives survived from (supertyphoon) Yolanda” Thus said Nila Triste-Villacorte, a native of this town but is now a naturalized American citizen, when asked the purpose of a “living rosary” that she initiated on Saturday night at the Palo Cathedral, otherwise known as the Transfiguration of Our Lord. During the living rosary held inside the cathedral, which is to be visited by Pope Francis next year, Triste-Villacorte’s siblings, relatives and friends joined the activity wherein the five Joyful Mysteries were recited.

The entire cathedral, damaged during the onslaught of Yolanda 10 months ago, turned dark with illumination only coming from the participants candles with the two images of Mary.
“I was so thankful to the Lord that they all survived and nothing bad happened to them during the typhoon,” Triste-Villacorte, who works as a nurse in Chicago, Illinois, said. She arrived in the country on September 7 and arrived in Palo three days later with the holding of the living rosary among the first things she did. It was for thanksgiving mainly, Triste-Villacorte said.

She was joined by her siblings lawyers Federico, once the administrator of Tacloban city government, Fe Triste- Lumaniog and retired colonel, Felino. Triste-Villacorte’s classmates at the St. Mary’s Academy also joined the activity, among them were Meldy Moron Diamante,Maripaz Urbina. Marian and Youth Council of the parish also participated the occasion.

She said that God was good to her family that their old house located in Barangay Buri stood against the fury of Yolanda, considered the world’s strongest typhoon to make landfall.
“It was only our house that remained. All others, it was ground zero,” she said. Triste-Lumaniog said that the living rosary is their way of saying their thanksgiving and even a petition that no similar occurrence will ever happen again. “It was a complete disaster but thanks God, nobody was hurt,” she said. Federico said that it was indeed a miracle that their ancestral house only sustained partial damage, with its roof blown away. “I spent my Christmas and New Year celebration there, alone and in the dark,” he said, reminiscing with her two sisters their growing up years at their old house. (JOEY A. GABIETA)