Coinciding with the upcoming feast of St. Alberto Hurtado, known in Chile as the Day of Solidarity, Caritas Chile has launched an appeal in parishes and church institutions across the country to aid the victims of the earthquake that shook the coast of Peru on August 15.
In a statement, Caritas Chile said, “In response to the earthquake, the institutions of solidarity of the Church in Chile have activated their emergency network and are working together to collect monetary donations from the Catholic faithful which will be sent to those in need through the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference and Caritas Peru.
The secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, Bishop Cristian Contreras Villarroel, called on the faithful and all people of good will to ask themselves how they can exercise charity, solidarity and provide “heartfelt” assistance.
Msgr. Juan Luis Ysern, president of Caritas Chile said, “Some are asking themselves, how can this happen precisely when we are in a legal battle with Peru over territorial waters? This is very beautiful sign. The conflicts that need to be resolved through dialogue between one side and the other are one thing, but there are other things that are above all that. We can see here how we express ourselves and live as brothers and sisters despite everything,” he added.
More than 60,000 Peruvians live in Chile, most of whom have not been able to communicate with their loved ones at home. According to Father Rodrigo Tupper, vicar of Social Ministry in Santiago, “We want to welcome them also with love and pray for them.”
“This is an opportunity to unite our faith, our prayer to concrete acts of solidarity, helping those who are right now most in need. Therefore, let us be very generous,” Father Tupper said. “The biggest need right now is for us to make monetary donations. Through Caritas Chile we can effectively channel this aid and therefore we ask you to be generous,” he said.