Vatican Meeting to Help Fishermen Affected by Tsunami

Initiative Involving Apostleship of the Sea

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2005 ( The Holy See has called for a meeting of the Apostleship of the Sea this month in Rome, to help fishermen of the countries ravaged by Dec. 26 tidal wave.

The meeting will gather members of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, as well as national directors and regional coordinators of the Apostleship of the Sea in the stricken countries: India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. The date is to be scheduled.

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the pontifical council, told the Missionary Service News Agency that «fishermen are among the people most affected by the devastating tidal wave.»

«They have lost everything: their homes, often on the seashore; their vessels; and all the equipment used in their daily activities,» he said.

The Vatican dicastery is also responsible for the Apostleship of the Sea, a pastoral ministry oriented in particular toward those who live on the seas: fishermen, maritime transport, and workers of the navigation sector.

After telephone contacts with bishops, missionaries and lay volunteers, Archbishop Marchetto expressed his conviction that in the areas destroyed by the tsunami, above all in India and Sri Lanka, fishermen «have suffered a real trauma.»

«Once the emergency has been surmounted, it will be necessary to plan long-term reconstruction,» he said.

In the archbishop’s opinion, a «real view of the whole situation, also with local officials, is indispensable to organize aid with precision.»

«In the realm of immediate help, the local bishops have held meetings with their local pastoral councils to organize first aid,» he said.

Local solidarity is playing an important role, Archbishop Marchetto said. «In India, for example, laborers will give a day’s work to the victims of the tidal wave, while students are also mobilizing, as well as the most well-off social classes.»

For its part, the Pontifical Council «Cor Unum,» which handles the Pope’s charitable endeavors, is intensifying its efforts to offer direct help to those affected by the tsunami and to encourage the generosity of Catholics.

In Europe, donations in euros to «Cor Unum» may be made to the order of:

Pontifical Council Cor Unum
Account No. 603035
Bank: Banco Posta, Poste Italiane S.p.A.
Address: Viale Europa, 175
I-00144 Rome, Italy
International Bank Code (IBAN): IT20 S 07601 03200 000000 603035
Cause: «Emergency in Asia»

Donations in other currencies may be made to the order of:

Pontifical Council Cor Unum
Account No. 101010
Bank: Banca di Roma
International Bank Code (IBAN): IT93 J 03002 05008 000000 101010
Cause: «Emergency in Asia»

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