Collection Planned for Venezuela Flood Victims

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 8, 2005 ( The Holy See will invite the faithful on Holy Thursday to make a gesture of solidarity with those affected by the devastating floods that hit Venezuela in February.

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The calendar of the Holy Week liturgical celebrations, published today by the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, reveals that the alms collection at the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper, on the afternoon of March 24, will be for this purpose.

Given John Paul II’s state of convalescence, the Mass is expected to be presided over by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Intense rains in Venezuela between Feb. 7 and Feb. 18 left 62 dead and caused losses amounting to $16 million, according to official figures.

Some 24,000 people were evacuated from a series of villages in the state of Vargas, which remained isolated because of the floods.

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