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Peruvian bishops offer Mass for earthquake victims

.- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima celebrated a special Mass last Saturday in the city of Pisco, located near the epicenter of the August 15 earthquake, to pray for the victims of the recent tragedy.

Before the start of the Mass, which took place outside the completely destroyed parish of St. Clement, the names of all those who perished in the earthquake were read aloud.  In his homily, Cardinal Cipriani called on local residents to rebuild their city in a spirit of hope and optimism.  “In the last days and weeks suffering has been on the minds of all.  But I must tell you: Courage! Lift your spirits! Fix your gaze on Christ! We are not going to remain broken! We are not going to be sad forever!” the cardinal stated.

Cardinal Cipriani compared the Gospel passage of Lazarus being raised from the dead to the experiences of those whose cities have been devastated.  “After this situation, Jesus resurrects Lazarus. Brothers and sisters, we are in that phase.  We must resurrect peace, faith and hope, and be convinced that after this suffering will come peace, progress and development, but most of all that interior peace will come,” he said.

“The heart understands that next to pain and death, the message of Christ is resurrection, peace and joy.  Don’t let anyone take that faith from our hearts!” he added.

At the conclusion of the cardinal’s homily, the faithful lit thousands of candles to remember deceased family members and loved ones and to pray for them.

An emotional moment came at the sign of peace, which took place at exactly 6:40 p.m., the same time the earthquake struck on August 15.

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