Bishop near quake‘s epicenter: ‘We trust in God and ask for prayers’
March 15, 2011
The bishops of Japan will hold an extraordinary meeting on March 16 following the Sendai earthquake and tsunami that left thousands dead.
“The situation is very difficult,” said Bishop Martin Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai, a diocese whose 11,000 Catholics form only 0.15% of the region’s population. “The people are exhausted and disoriented. The emotional and financial impact on society is enormous. Helpers and volunteers are arriving from all over Japan.”
“We are terrified," the bishop admitted in a Vatican Radio interview. Most survivors--cut off from power and communications--have been unable to gain accurate information about their relatives and neighbors. They are also hearing only occasional reports about the dangers posed by the damaged Fukushima nuclear plants.
“Meanwhile, we trust in God and ask for the prayers of all Christians throughout the world,” he added. “We received the Holy Father's message, and we thank him for his words that instill courage and hope. Today this is our specific mission: to help the nation to raise its eyes to heaven, and to keep alive the flame of hope.”
Among the victims of the disaster was Father Andre Lachapelle, 76, a missionary from Quebec.