|Japanese Catholics (Source: CathNewsIndia|
“The situation is very difficult,” said Bishop Martin Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai, a diocese whose 11,000 Catholics form only 0.15% of the region’s population. “The people are exhausted and disoriented. The emotional and financial impact on society is enormous. Helpers and volunteers are arriving from all over Japan.”
“We Catholics in the Diocese of Sendai are few more than 10,000, a little flock,” he continued. “However, we continue to pray for the victims and we will do everything possible to bring relief, to testify, at this time of suffering, to the message of the Christ's love.”
“Meanwhile, we trust in God and ask for the prayers of all Christians throughout the world,” he added. “We received the Holy Father's message, and we thank him for his words that instill courage and hope. Today this is our specific mission: to help the nation to raise its eyes to heaven, and to keep alive the flame of hope.”
Among the victims of the disaster was Father Andre Lachapelle, 76, a missionary from Quebec.