On 17th January 2015, to the soundtrack of Filipino-London band ooberfuse, Pope Francis will bring his message of “Mercy and Compassion” to the survivors of the deadliest typhoon to hit the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan. Cherrie Anderson, originating from the town at the eye of the storm, Tacloban, penned Mercy as a musical message of hope to the survivors and families of those left behind. Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, killed over 6,300 people. Mercy has been officially nominated one of 3 songs to underline the message of mercy and compassion of Pope Francis’s timely visit.
Fr. Chris Militante, Palo archdiocese’s information officer, said : “the archdiocese will basically carry three theme songs for the papal visit, including singer Jaime Rivera’s “We Are All God’s Children,” the official theme song of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines on January 15 to 19 next year. “Mercy” by British band Ooberfuse, who also performed the official theme song of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year, was composed by the band’s vocalist Cherrie Anderson, whose mother is from Tacloban City (Leyte’s capital), specifically for Yolanda survivors.”
Cherrie Anderson, front-woman of the band, says : “I vividly remember the night of the storm last November. I sat up all night frantically ringing members of my family to make sure they were ok. The entire Province infra-structure of Eastern Visayas was left in ruins following the 315 km/h (195 mph) winds, the strongest on record. There was a long and eerie silence once the typhoon had passed. I could not contact my family directly for days and relied exclusively on media reports for news. 12 months later, though the world’s media have moved on to other things, the lives of ordinary Filipinos however bear the scars and emotional wounds of the typhoon. It is a measure of Pope Francis’ deep humanity and real concern for the poorest of the poor that he has chosen to offer direct consolation by visiting the thousands of families devastated by the worst typhoon ever to hit the Philippines.”
Hal St John from the band adds: “it is easy enough to become immunised to the human cost of natural disasters. We read the news one day but often fail to recognise the next the lasting and devastating human impact. A single event like typhoon Haiyan leaves a trail of destruction that will take years and possibly life times to put right. Pope Francis’ visit to the victims and their families will help to keep the plight of those who have lost everything, like members of Cherrie’s family, in the public eye. Mercy tries to emphasise that in spite of the worst tragedies God’s eternal mercy and compassion will sustain us through the darkest hour.”