April 3, 2015 — With sustained winds of 160 mph, Super Typhoon Maysak struck the Pacific region this week, causing severe damage throughout Micronesia. Maysak struck the island of Chuuk on Sunday night, bringing down communications systems from the island and hit the island of Yap on Tuesday. Jesuits from the USA Northeast Province and the Province of Indonesia, members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and residents of Micronesia staff the two Jesuit schools in the region that suffered damages.
Xavier High School on the island of Chuuk, a boarding school with 186 students from around Micronesia, sustained major damage, according to Jesuit Father Robert Pecoraro, director of the school. A response plan is developing and a relief fund is being created for the school; very preliminary estimates range between $50,000 and $100,000 in damages. There are a large number of downed trees, as well as wind and water damage to classrooms, the computer room, chapel, the student center, the study hall and the faculty residence. Students, faculty and staff were all reported safe, though classes were cancelled for the full week, which included a previously scheduled Easter break.
The Jesuits, students, parents and staff at Xavier worked to clear debris from buses, water tanks, damaged residence areas and other parts of the school. Food and supplies were being brought in by boat from surrounding islands. Xavier Principal Martin Carl said that many Xavier campus workers lost their homes entirely and pointed out the sustained need for prayers.
Fr. Pecoraro said, “While there is much work to do, we have not forgotten God’s presence in this Holiest of weeks and will hold Holy Week services for the school and residents of Sapuk in our chapel. We are aware always of God’s presence with us.” The Xavier Board, which spans the globe, has been mobilized to respond and is actively working for the relief efforts at Xavier, as well as the greater Chuuk community. Board Chair Rodney Jacob stated that “it is clear to the Board that our mission and responsibility is not only to Xavier but to the local community of Sapuk and the great community of Chuuk in which we live.”
On Tuesday night, Maysak passed just north of Yap. Jesuit Father Michael Corcoran, director and principal, reported, “We prepared as best we could — covering windows with plywood and tying down all the roofs. In the end, there was only minor damage — a few upturned trees on campus and part of the roof on the new chapel was torn off.”
For more than 70 years, American Jesuits have served the people of Micronesia. Xavier High School and Yap Catholic High School were founded by Jesuits from the former New York Province. The mission of Xavier High School is to educate students to be competent, conscientious and compassionate leaders whose lives are guided by the Christian call of service. Yap Catholic High School seeks to develop the minds, hearts, souls and characters of students in their pursuit of becoming women and men for others. Xavier is located atop Mabuchi, in the village of Sapuk, in a former Japanese communication center used during World War II. Committed to academic excellence, last year Xavier produced four Gates scholars; the first recipient of the Ushiba Scholarship to Sophia University in Japan; and an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
To support relief efforts for our schools in Micronesia please click here and designate International Ministries for your gift. In the next drop-down, please specify "Micronesia Relief" in the comment section. More information about the condition of the schools and needs that arise will be posted to www.JesuitsEast.org when available or at http://xaviermicronesia.org. [Source: Northeast Province]