ECUADOR, via AICA •
Pope Francis expressed his condolences for the victims of the landslide that occurred in Quito on January 31, and asked God “for the repose of the deceased and the consolation of their families,” the Archdiocese of Quito reported. —
The Holy Father sent a telegram signed by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to the Archbishop of Quito, Monsignor Alfredo José Espinoza Mateus, where he assures to feel “deeply saddened to learn of the natural disasters that are affecting that beloved nation and that have caused so many victims and material damage, offers fervent suffrages for the eternal rest of the deceased”.
Following the tragic natural disaster, Francis “beseeches the Lord to grant consolation to the bereaved and to all those who suffer in these moments of pain and uncertainty, and to sustain with his graces all those who are committed to the search for the missing and to the arduous process of reconstruction of the devastated areas”.
Likewise, His Holiness extended his prayer to the Virgin of the Presentation of El Quinche so that “she may intercede before her son Jesus Christ for all the sons and daughters of Ecuador affected by this catastrophe” and imparted “with affection the comforting apostolic blessing, as a sign of spiritual closeness”.
According to the Mayor of Quito, Santiago Guarderas, in a statement to the media after meeting with the Emergency Operations Committee of the Metropolitan District, the mudslide “affected some 348 people and damaged 38 houses”.
The Archdiocese of Quito, through Caritas, launched a solidarity campaign to help with the most urgent needs of the victims of the mudslide that devastated several areas of the city, and asked to pray for the victims of this tragedy and their families.
The Episcopal Conference of Ecuador (CEE) and Caritas Ecuador published a note in which they speak of “avoidable catastrophes”.
“In recent days, with pain, we have seen how many of our brothers and sisters suffer from the intense rains, floods and environmental damage. Among the rubble we continue to find the bodies of children, young people, adults, and the elderly. As a Church we immediately put ourselves at the service of the affected populations and communities in Coca, Sucumbíos, Tena, Latacunga, Babahoyo, Montalvo, Durán, Quito and many others”.
The note emphasizes that national, diocesan and parish Caritas have not ceased for a moment to guarantee “hot food, blankets, mattresses, food, medical care, spiritual assistance”.
“We thank the Catholics of Ecuador, the men and women of good will who trust in the pastoral action of the Church, to come to the immediate aid of the hundreds of victims, but also that of the police, army, firefighters, emergency services, who work tirelessly and without great resources,” the bishops wrote.
“Our commitment, beyond the impact of the moment, is not to stop accompanying those who lost a loved one, those who lost their life’s work, buried in the mud; we will continue to coordinate our actions and join efforts so that life can begin again.”
Schoenstatters from the ” Niños de Maria ” Foundation in Quito and Fr. Rafael Amaya from the Shrine are among those who efficiently help the victims of La Comuna.
Original: Spanish, 09.02.2022. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org