Spain, Italy, England, Romania

Spain: pain and solidarity The archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Marìa Rouco Varela, President of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, wrote a letter of condolences to the President of Haiti’s Bishops’ Conference Msgr. Louis Kébreau for the death of hundreds of thousands caused by the devastating earthquake. The archbishop conveyed his sympathy and expressed the hope in a speedy reconstruction. Among the victims figure “Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, archbishop of Port-au-Price, a large number of priests, seminarians, religious men and women”. “The bishops members of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference – is stated in the letter – and the entire Church of Spain share the suffering of the Church and of the Haitian population. We offer our prayers and suffrages for the everlasting sleep of the dead, for the relief of the wounded and for the consolation in faith of those who lost their beloved ones and their own material goods”. The Spanish bishops call upon all Catholics in Spain to fraternal solidarity in their prayers, and to provide the Haitian population with financial support through the Caritas in Spain and other Catholic institutions which promptly undertook generous initiatives in favor of the victims of the earthquake.Italy: special charity collection “The dreadful tragedy that hit the population of Haiti causing tens of thousands of deaths calls us all to engage in acts of solidarity in response to the emergency”. In meeting the call of Benedict XVI, the Italian Bishops’ Conference will hold a special charity collection on Sunday January 24 2010 in churches across Italy in support of the populations hit by the earthquake in the Caribbean island. The collection follows the commitment of two million euros from the funds of the eight per thousand tax in response to the emergency and to provide essential needs to the population hit by the earthquake. In the appeal of past January 13 CEI Presidency invited ecclesial communities to pray for all those hit by the catastrophe and grant support to the solidarity initiatives promoted by the Italian Caritas. England: major mobilization The Church of England and Wales mobilized support for the victims of the Haiti earthquake with prayers in all the churches and with financial aid. The bishop of Clifton Declan Lang, responsible for the Bishops’ Conference international affairs department, asked support for the fund collection organized by Cafod, the bishops’ agency for Third World aid, that is currently collaborating with Caritas Haiti and with the US Catholic Relief Services. “Do also remember to pray for those who left for Haiti to help the victims of the tragedy”, said Msgr. Lang in a statement released by the press office of the Catholic Church. “Obviously most of us cannot take part in the work of the rescue agencies but we can sustain them with prayer and financial aid”. Also the head of the diocese of Portsmouth, bishop Msgr. Crispian Hollis, asked to pray for the victims and for their families and to “participate in the fund collection with the entire diocese”. According to the national director of “Missio” in England and Wales Msgr. John Dale, the earthquake in Haiti is all the more tragic since it caused the death of many religious who cannot provide the much needed pastoral care. The website of the Catholic Church of England and Wales also posted the testimony of sister Janet Fearns from “Missio” and of archbishop Msgr. Bernardito Auza, papal nuncio in Haiti.Romania: collection ongoing until January 23 “We offer the token of our solidarity with our brothers in Haiti”, declared the archbishop of Bucharest Msgr. Ioan Robu, announcing the opening of a fund collection across the entire diocese for the populations hit by the earthquake of January 12. “Although our help is but small – added the archbishop – the love and vicinity with those who survived and are suffering, and those who were received by the Lord, are even greater”. The collection began on Sunday January 17 in all the churches of the archdiocese and will conclude Saturday January 23. The sums collected will be sent to Haiti through the apostolic nunciature in Bucharest. On January 18, when the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity opened in the Catholic cathedral of Saint Joseph, the initiative was proposed to all Romanian Christians.

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