Church in Chile assisting earthquake victims, reassures nuncio

.- The Apostolic Nuncio in Chile, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, remarked on Monday that the Church has already started reaching out to those most impacted by the country's 8.8 earthquake.

Speaking with Vatican Radio, the archbishop noted that while communication has been difficult due to damage in the hardest-hit areas of Concepcion, Temuco and Curico, aid is being sent to the over one million people who have been left homeless.

Acknowledging that the situation will become more difficult as winter approaches, the archbishop said that for now, the Church “is seeking to meet the immediate needs of the people.”

The nuncio then spoke about the quake-damage to the region's churches.  He noted that “some churches and convent chapels that are 150 or 200 years old suffered significant damage.  However,” he continued, “at the Basilica of Our Lady of Providence, which is located near the Nunciature, the bell tower was damaged but the rest of the structure was saved.”

The archbishop then referenced the work of the religious in supporting the victims of the tragedy, stressing, “I know of bishops who have already visited their parishes and churches.”

“As of now I have no word of any bishop or priest killed by this powerful earthquake,” he added.

He turned to Pope Benedict XVI’s call on Sunday for solidarity with Chile. “This intervention by the Holy Father should certainly encourage many in Chile because religious faith here is strong, especially among the families who live in rural areas.”

The Pope's words “certainly have encouraged many, beginning with bishops, priests and nuns who are in the region.”

For more information visit: www.caritas.org

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