Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Pope prays for victims of Guatemala volcano disaster

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis sent condolences to Guatemala after a horrific volcanic eruption left more than 60 people dead.

In a June 5 telegram addressed to Archbishop Nicolas Thevenin, apostolic nuncio of Guatemala, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope was “profoundly grieved upon learning the sad news of the violent eruption of the ‘Volcan de Fuego’ (‘Volcano of Fire’).”

The June 3 eruption buried entire towns in a thick blanket of ash and debris, causing hundreds to flee the toxic fumes. Although the death toll was at 69 people June 5, authorities believed many more may still be buried under the volcanic rubble.

According to the Vatican newspaper, “L’Osservatore Romano,” Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Studies said only 17 victims had been identified as of June 5. Scientists will have to rely on DNA to identify victims disfigured by burning embers and hot lava.

Firefighters and volunteers were forced to use wooden planks to walk around after the soles of their shoes were melting because of the intense heat, CNN reported June 5.

Pope Francis offered “prayers for the eternal rest of the deceased and for all who suffer the consequences of that natural disaster.”

Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis hoped that families mourning the loss of their loved ones may be consoled and expressed “his spiritual closeness to the wounded and those who work tirelessly in helping the victims.”

Meanwhile, Catholic agencies and parishes quickly responded after the eruption by providing shelter and emergency supplies.

“People here in Escuintla have lost everything, family members, homes, crops, their animals,” Luis Rolando Sanchez, Catholic Relief Services’ emergency coordinator for Latin America, said in a message to agency staff in Baltimore.

He said residents from the affected communities had “lined up all day” June 4 at shelters and collections centers for food and basic needs. “Many of them were missing family members,” he said.

“More help will be needed in coming days, especially once we know the extent of the impact,” Sanchez continued. “At one of the shelters, the number of people had doubled by Monday night (June 4) and the number of deaths is increasing. Affected communities face the drama of losing family.

“I talked to a woman with three daughters, one of them a newborn barely 27 days old. They, along with her three nieces, survived. Her sister and husband were buried in the eruption. There will be many orphans and widows,” Sanchez said.

CRS continued to work with government and local responders as well as Caritas Guatemala, he added.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, of the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., and other members of a Catholic Charities diocesan medical mission, had just returned from San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala, when the volcano erupted. Everyone arrived home safely.

“While the volcanic eruption did not directly affect the diocesan mission in San Pedro, Guatemala, I offer the prayers and support of the Charleston diocesan community to the people affected by this devastating occurrence,” Bishop Guglielmone said.

The agency is accepting donations for the emergency through an online site: https://support.crs.org/donate/guatemala-volcano?utm_source=how-to-help&utm_medium=earned-media&utm_campaign=guatemala-volcano.

By Junno Arocho Esteves / Catholic News Service

CNS photo/courtesy Ivan Palma, CRS: Physiology and social work students tend a displaced woman at a shelter in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 5. The erupton of the nearby Volcano of Fire June 3 killed at least 69 people.






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Jun 1810:00 am Junta Diocesana
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    6:00 pm Crozier Event - St. Anthony of Padua
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 19 Arch Bishop Lyke Conference
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    9:30 am Beaufort Deanery Meeting
    From the Calendar of Office of Catechesis
    10:30 am Crozier Event - St. Peter's - Columbia
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 2011:30 am Bishop - Mass at Pastoral Center
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    6:00 pm Crozier event - Pastoral Center - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 219:00 am Bishop - Mass at St. Benedict's - Mt. Pleasant
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 226:00 pm Ordination of the Adorno Deacons - Immaculate Conception - Goose Creek
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 235:30 pm St. Philip Neri - Fort Mill - 25th Parish Anniversary - All day event - Mass at 5:30
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 25 Xavier Institute for Black Catholic Studies
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jun 276:30 pm Bishop presiding Confirmation - Stella Maris - Sullivans Island
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 288:00 am Mass at St. Patrick's - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 304:00 pm Fortnight for Freedom - Cardinal Newman HS - Columbia
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jul 1 Daniel Rudd Fund Application open
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jul 2 St. Anthony of Padua Summer Academy Holiday-no school
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    Jul 4 Independence Day
    From the Calendar of St. Anne and St. Jude Catholic School
    Independence Day
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony School Florence
    Jul 9 Summer Academy Resumes
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    High School CLI
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry