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Bishops reach out to drought-affected families

Australia's Catholic Bishops highlighted the strain that drought-induced hardship can place on family relationships in a statement of solidarity issued on Friday.

The Bishops, meeting in Sydney, were urging Catholics to take part in yesterday's National Day of Prayer for an end to the drought, organised by the National Council of Churches of Australia.

"Drought is a major concern. It takes a great toll on the land, as well as on those who work the land and on the local communities which support them and rely on them," the Bishops' statement said.

"We offer our prayers that those afflicted by the lack of rain will draw strength from God to see them through this difficult time.

"We offer particular encouragement to rural families. Hardship brought on by drought can place an enormous strain on family relationships. Those experiencing such strains should not feel alone or abandoned or be afraid to ask for help.

They said the drought called for a strong sense of solidarity within local communities across the rural and urban divide and including governments and their agencies, which are charged with the responsibility of providing prompt and effective relief.

"We urge all Australians to play their part in supporting the drought-affected by observing water restrictions and being aware of the scarcity of this precious resource."

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference - Statement on the Drought
Drought stretches demand for Vinnies services (31/10/02)
Church leaders declare Sunday a day of prayer for rain (27/11/02)
National Council of Churches of Australia | A national day of prayer for the environment and the current drought
Resources for use at Mass in Catholic Churches 1/12/02
Rain at last, but for some it means a bitter harvest (The Age)
Droughts, Floods and Prayer (St Joseph's House of Prayer, Goulburn NSW)

2 Dec 2002