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Salvadoran bishops speak encouraging words after violent earthquake
    "Do not lose heart", was the message of the Salvadoran bishops to their country's population afflicted by 13 January's massive earthquake.
    "It is often hard to understand the mysterious ways of God" when confronted with natural disasters, the bishops wrote in their pastoral message. "The first reaction in our hearts may well be `Oh God, oh God, why have you abandoned me?"
    However, the bishops told Catholics that while the hand of the Lord had taken a "mysterious form" in El Salvador, "he has not abandoned us."
    Church solidarity for the victims of the earthquake has been very generous. Caritas distributed no less than $A616,523 in food and medical aid in the first three days after the quake.
    "We have not been alone; we have had immense help and signs of solidarity from . parishes not affected, as well as from abroad," Fr Walter Gutierrez, vice president of Caritas El Salvador told CNS.