AMERICA/GUATEMALA - Natural disasters are a time to live faith, hope and charity: “This is the time when the light of our faith should illuminate the darkness of calamity” says Bishop of Escuintla

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

Escuintla (Fides Service) - In the tragic situation following hurricane Stan and the distress of people, especially poor rural communities, Bishop Victor Hugo Palma Paul of Escuintla diocese in Guatemala issued a pastoral message of hope urging Catholics to live this tragic time putting into practice their faith, hope and charity.
The message “The Lord is our refuge in times of trouble” (cf Psalm 9,10), opens with a call to take refuge in the Lord and to live the hardship caused by natural disasters with faith, hope and charity. “Even when we are grieving for the loss of lives of family and friends, even when in addition to economic difficulty there is also loss of homes, crops, source of work, this is the time - the Bishop wrote - dear brothers and sisters in which the light of our faith should illuminate the darkness of calamity”. Our God is not “distant” he is God with us: “I will be with you always, to the end of time” (Mt 28,20). “This is the truth of our faith which we have celebrated all through this Diocesan Eucharistic and Missionary Year and at this time of calamity we say once again: Stay with us Lord! (Lk 24,29)”.
“We must not let anxiety or uncertainty for the future rob our hearts of the last thing we can lose: God’s merciful help”. The Bishop encouraged people to help those who are most stricken and grieving, with a word or an action, but above all to help them live through this tragedy with hope and walk together towards a better future. Bishop Palma says this is the time to live Christian charity with an acts of solidarity and brotherhood to help those most in need. “We must offer those in need not only material help: we must also pray and make a prayer become fraternal action! We must remember that every act of service however small, coming from our small means and donations and almsgiving are a means to make present the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. The Bishop ended his message thanking all who are assisting the afflicted people urging them to continue the good work and to put nothing before this disinterested mission open to all. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 12/10/2005, righe 29, parole 434)