Catholic Mission prayer campaign for Japan
|A man and a boy walking between houses destroyed by the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.|
All Australians are being asked to join the international Catholic Mission prayer campaign for the people of Japan, especially those of the Diocese of Sendai where the tsunami was at its worst.
“All over the world Catholics are joining together to show their solidarity with their fellow Catholics and indeed with all the people of that devastated region,” Catholic Mission Australia National Director Martin Teulan said.
“We should never underestimate how important the prayers of people around the world are for those whose lives have been devastated by a natural disaster.
“We always receive so many messages of thanks from those for whom we have prayed. Through these prayers, people feel the solidarity of the whole of the Catholic Church with them in their moment of despair, and most importantly feel the presence of God supporting them and holding them at this time of incredible distress and fear.”
People wishing to send a prayer to the people of Japan can email email@example.com All prayers will be forwarded through to Catholic Mission in Japan.
Mr Teulan said the incredible images of tsunami waters forging their way relentlessly inland do not show the number of unsuspecting individuals who were caught in its path.
The death toll is rising and already at 10,000. Even the greatest experts of the world’s seismologists admit that nobody could have been prepared for the disaster. The US Geological survey described the earthquake of 10 March as ‘one of the great earthquakes’ in history. Measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, its effects could reach across the entire Pacific coast, affecting countries as distant as Chile. Warnings to Pacific islands urged that coastal areas be evacuated. Some islands will be hit by waves higher than their own highest areas. Even Canada, Alaska and California issued tsunami alerts.
The Catholic Diocese of Sendai was the first victim of Japan’s tsunami following the earthquake. Covering a land area of 72,000 square kilometres, the Diocesan territory includes the cities of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. Initial reports suggest that Miyagi and Fukushima were the first to fall victim to the ten-metre tsunami caused by the megaquake. In Sendai, where a major oil terminal exploded when its cooling system failed, Catholics form 0.15 per cent of the total population of 7,207,624. In Tokyo, Catholics make up 0.51 per cent of the total population of 18,552,995 people. In both cities, the predominant religions are Shinto and Buddhism.
There are about 509,000 Catholics in Japan, of whom 10,944 are in the Diocese of Sendai and a further 95,877 in the Archdiocese of Tokyo, which also felt the force of the earthquake even though it is situated more than 400 kilometres from its epicentre.
“Catholic Mission is not an emergency aid organisation: its purpose is to be present ‘for the long haul’ in the Church wherever it is young or poor," Catholic Mission-England and Wales National Director Mgr John Dale said.
"It is impossible within a few hours of the initial earthquake to know what the needs are and where they should be directed. At the moment, all we can do is to pray.
“When we know more, we can do more.”
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