AMERICA/CHILE - 47% of churches damaged in earthquake, one million faithful without a place of worship; report on Church structures one month after the earthquake

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Santiago de Chile (Agenzia Fides) – 47% percent of Chile's Catholic churches were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of February 27: this is affirmed in a Report on the damage to religious buildings published by the Statistical Office of the Chilean Bishops' Conference, on the basis of an initial diagnosis made by the diocese. According to information sent to Fides, 12 of the 10 dioceses that make up the Church in Chile have been hit. From preliminary reports, it shows that there have been 545 religious facilities damaged, of which 440 are churches. In the 9 regions involved, 80% of the churches reported damage, which means 47% of the total number of churches in Chile
The damage caused by the earthquake varies: 19% of churches reported serious damage and collapse, which means complete demolition; 24% reported severe damage, but with the possibility of recovering the structure; 25% had considerable damage, but recovered; and 32% had suffered little damage.
The number of places of worship damaged implies that about a million people cannot gather as a community to live moments of prayer (indoors). Parish priests and pastoral workers are making an effort to ensure the continuity of liturgical services and spiritual support, pastoral support and solidarity, all of which are so necessary in times of grief and adversity. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 27/03/2010)