Dear Confreres and friends,
Greetings in the Divine Word!
Surely, most of you, if not all, have read about, heard or seen in the news, the events surrounding the Taal Volcano in the Philippines. You may also be aware that the Arnoldian Family (SSpSAP, SSpS and SVD) have a few communities in close proximity to this volcano. Our own Divine Word Seminary (DWS) in Tagaytay and our Postulancy are among these communities. Naturally, this was already a source of concern for all of us.
We have been informed today that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) has strongly recommended that all inhabited areas within a radius of 14kms around the volcano be evacuated. This is due to new satellite images which show that the main crater lake has been drained while new vent craters have formed. This, coupled with the identification of many fissures in the ground in various places in the environs of the volcano, are strong indicators of imminent hazardous eruption. The Philippines Government has therefore approved the recommendation and ordered the immediate evacuation of these places.
Therefore, today 16th January 2020, at the release of this communiqué, our DWS has been evacuated to the Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City. This evacuation involves everyone: Professors, staff, students, etc. Our postulants are also now in the Novitiate in Calapan. In both communities, only a handful of people will remain on the grounds until further notice. It is important to note that originally, DWS had offered it’s premises as shelter for people who had been evacuated earlier on from towns and villages in closer proximity to the volcano. With these new developments however, they have been handed over to the state for relocation.
I invite you all to pray for the Philippines as a nation, for its people, especially those directly affected by these events and most especially for our confreres and sisters.
May the Peace of the Lord be upon all of us!
Fraternally in the Divine Word,
Paulus Budi Kleden, SVD