Saturday, May 17, 2008
Chinese Earhquake and Our Response
China Earthquake May 2008
China’s earthquake is a disaster that appears to keep on growing. Aftershocks, damaged dams and now the fear of flooding all add to a horrible situation.
The government is now estimating that the death toll may rise to 50,000 with a considerably higher number of homeless.
Schools, hospitals, neighbors and infrastructure has all been damaged or destroyed.
The government’s response has been swift. This includes the army moving in for transportation, food services and especially to repair dams. Government officials have been at the disaster sites.
Our prayers should go out to all Chinese as they deal with this monumental disaster.
The Chinese Catholic Church is responding with all of the compassion and challenges that other segments of Chinese society are exhibiting. The diocese in the area most directly impacted by the quake reports devastation. Priests from various parishes report difficulties contacting parish members or locating members. Over thirty churches in the area were damaged, some severely and at least one was completely destroyed. The quake has affected priests, nuns, seminaries, monasteries, churches and of course lay members.
Special Mass has been held throughout the area. Eucharistic Adoration sessions are being scheduled. Memorial services and prayers for the survivors are an active part of the Chinese Catholic Church response. Additionally collections have been made through Jinde Charities, a Catholic NGO that has asked for money, tents, medicines, foods, water and prayers.
It is appropriate that our thoughts, prayers, treasures and efforts go out not only to our Catholic brothers and sisters in China but to all Chinese at this time.