Work together as a people of hope, urge Chilean bishops

.- The bishops of Chile released a message Thursday encouraging Catholics to “lift their spirits, recover their confidence, and work together as one people” following the country's tragic 8.8 earthquake.

Co-authored by Bishops Alejandro Goic Karmelic and Santiago Silva Retamales, the message was titled, “In you Lord, we put our faith.”  The prelates acknowledged the work many have put forth to assist the victims and highlighted the intense efforts of the Caritas Network in facilitating aid distribution.

"We need to lift our spirits, recover our confidence and work together as one people. In addition to the reconstruction of buildings and roads, we need to purify our souls which have been fractured by fear, violence and lawlessness. It is time to build bridges that allow us to better recognize each other and embrace one another as brothers." 

The text also outlined "the painful and incomprehensible episodes of looting, plundering and speculation" which "force us to question our upbringing and values. However, at the same time, many people have risen above the turmoil and loss of material possessions to care for others.

“Today, we see an entire country, supporting and grieving with families who suffer, who have lost everything, and who need a glimmer of hope from us." 

The bishops pointed out that consolation for the suffering is found in God, "who offers his love in the gift of His Son to us. Because He is our hope, we put our faith in Him." The prelates then stated that, "a country is not constructed only by the labor of humans. A country needs the best from its people. For those that believe in Christ, the source of life, the best treasure we can offer to Chile in this time is Christ himself.

“In this, Chile’s bicentennial year, let us undertake a mission to make Chile a table where all are welcome, more now than ever." 

Finally, the bishops’ statement called upon "the God of Mercy to shelter all those who have died in his presence … We present our wounds and our hope to God with confidence. May He heal our wounds and awaken a true sense of solidarity within us."

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