A Day's Wages Are Asked in Sacrifice for Victims

Christians Agencies Aiding Pakistani Survivors, Mainly Muslims

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LAHORE, Pakistan, OCT. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The president of Pakistan’s episcopal conference suggested that Catholics offer a day’s wages to help people stricken by Saturday’s earthquake.

«We are still deeply shocked and traumatized by the tragedy,» Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore told the Vatican missionary agency Fides. «The death toll rises by the hour and loss of life and damage to structures is vast.»

Officials fear that the quake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, might have caused 50,000 deaths in the Pakistani controlled area of Kashmir.

«The country has never known such a catastrophe,» said Archbishop Saldanha. «We have expressed our sympathy and closeness to the families and the homeless, assuring them of our help and prayers.»

«The bishops’ conference has urged Catholics to be generous in offering material and spiritual assistance,» he added. «We have suggested that Catholics and all men and women of good will offer a day’s wages to help the stricken people.»

Regarding the assistance being provided by the Church, especially through Caritas, Archbishop Saldanha explained: «We are sending volunteers to assist the homeless and doctors to attend to the numerous injured people.»

«Christian aid agencies are making every effort to help the affected people, mainly Muslims,» he continued.

«A few Catholics were among those who lost their life, but only a few, because there are hardly any Christians in the most affected area,» he said. «However, Catholic schools, institutes and churches are said to have been damaged. Reports are still incomplete.»

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