‘Your people are our people’ – Christchurch mayor Bob Parker
4 April 2011
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference has expressed shock and sadness at the devastation caused by the Christchurch earthquake on February 22 and extends heartfelt sympathy and prayerful support to those who have lost loved ones particularly those awaiting news of missing friends and family.
‘We pray that God will give peace to those who have died and healing to those suffering from injury,’ conference president Archbishop John Dew said in a statement on February 23. ‘We also pray that God will give strength to emergency workers and all who are providing help.
‘While we cannot fully appreciate the fear and anxiety being experienced by those in Christchurch, we, along with many others around New Zealand and overseas, have you in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.’
Catholic groups around the country are in the process of organising practical and financial support for those affected by the earthquake. Masses are also being offered for the people of Christchurch.
Meanwhile the bishops’ development agency, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, has taken the unusual step of giving money to an emergency in New Zealand by pledging $25,000 towards relief and recovery following the quake.
‘We are deeply saddened and shocked that this latest quake has caused such loss of life, injury and suffering,’ says Caritas director Michael Smith. ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.’
Caritas funds will support the St Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Social Services and other agencies to respond to immediate needs, and provide long-term help to those affected by this disaster.
Following the September 2010 quake, Caritas assisted the St Vincent de Paul Society to provide emergency supplies and Catholic Social Services to provide trauma counselling for children.
‘The needs are undoubtedly greater this time,’ says Mr Smith, ‘and we pledge our support to the people of Christchurch and surrounding areas.’
Caritas does not usually respond directly to emergencies within New Zealand but the scale of the disaster requires an exceptional response,’ says Mr Smith.
Donations to Caritas can be made by:
Phoning 0800 22 10 22 to make credit card donations or
Donating online using a credit card at www.caritas.org.nz or
Posting to Caritas, PO Box 12193, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.