1/23/2014 7:47:00 AM Newberg Catholics help church rebuild after typhoon
Photo contributed by Rosanna Junge
Fr. Don Gutmann, Rossana Junge and Fr. Fritz Malinao at San Juan Nepomoceno Church before the typhoon.
NEWBERG — Collections over two weekends of Masses at St. Peter Church netted more than $20,000 to help a Catholic church in the Philippines rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan.
St. Peter, a small-town parish, is faith home to approximately 1,050 families.
“We had a couple $1,000 gifts, but mostly they were smaller donations, and there were a lot of them,” said St. Peter’s pastor, Father Don Gutmann. “People really wanted to help.” Even after the Masses, donations continued to roll in. A total of $23,200 has been sent to San Juan Nepomoceno Church, which is located in San Remegio, a town on the northern end of the island of Cebu. The pastor there, Father Fritz Malinao, will use the funds to replace the roof of the church and make other needed repairs.
Father Gutmann visited the parish 18 months ago with his friends Heiko and Rossana Junge. Rossana knows Father Malinao well; she worked at Blessed John Paul XXIII Seminary in Cebu, where he was a teacher. She and the priest also teamed up to raise money for seminary scholarships.
The deadliest typhoon on record, Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and caused catastrophic damage that affected 11 million people. In just two hours, the typhoon destroyed San Juan Nepomoceno, which Father Malinao had spent five years expanding and remodeling.
“It’s especially sad because they are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year,” Rossana said.
“I spoke to Father Fritz, the pastor there, and he was in the process of ordering materials,” Father Gutmann said. St. Peter members are now discussing a sister-parish relationship with their new friends at San Juan Nepomoceno, Father Gutmann said.