Dominican Republic Bishops Send Message After Air Disaster

170 Citizens of Caribbean Nation Died in Crash

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, NOV. 14, 2001 ( This country´s Catholic bishops´ conference met Tuesday to address a message of consolation and hope to the nation in mourning, following the New York air disaster in which 170 Dominican citizens died.

Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo and president of the episcopal conference, and his fellow-bishops expressed their grief over what happened.

The crash of the American Airlines A300 shortly after takeoff Monday killed all 260 on board. Five people on the ground in the Queens section of New York were missing.

«Those deaths affect in a special way all their relatives but at the same time cast the entire homeland in mourning,» the bishops said. «The grief affects us all, and we wish to express our condolences and words of consolation to all to mitigate that pain.»

The message states that Masses will be celebrated in the country´s 11 dioceses for «the eternal repose of all those who perished in the air accident.»

«Death is always an overwhelming human event, especially when it is sudden, unforeseen and tragic,» the bishops continue. Faith, however, «fills this wounding reality with light. Faith tells us that death is not the end of life, but the beginning of true, definitive and glorious life.»

Investigators in New York were puzzled by evidence indicating the plane´s tail section may have sheared off the plane first, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable, CNN reported.

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