Catholics Urged to Help Oil Spill Victims

US Bishops’ Maritime Ministry Creates Aid Network

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 17, 2010 ( The U.S. division of the Apostleship of the Sea, which oversees the bishops’ conference maritime ministry, is calling on Catholics to aid victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

This spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulted from an April 20 well blowout on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform that killed 11 and injured 17 others.

The oil company BP has been fingered as being primarily responsible for what has become the largest spill in U.S. history, though the multinational corporation objects to this accusation.

The U.S. government has declared a fisheries disaster for the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. It is estimated that the fishing industry will lose some $2.5 billion due to the spill.

Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, Georgia, the episcopal promoter of the Apostleship of the Sea, urged Catholics to participate in the Church’s ministry to aid the fishermen and other affected by the disaster.

He reported that the maritime ministry program is creating a network to unite the diocesan relief efforts along the coast, such as the work of Catholic Charities in the New Orleans Archdiocese.

This network, the bishop explained, is a way for Catholics to get involved with the aid effort.

He asked the faithful to join him in prayer for the victims of the explosion and those whose livelihoods have been threatened by the oil spill damage in the surrounding environment. The prelate offered prayers for a quick resolution the problem.

«It is God’s creation,» Bishop Boland said. «He has given it to us to take care of it.»

He continued: «We must do all that we can, both as individuals and as a Church and as a community to restore to its proper dimensions and its proper beauty what God has given to us.»

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