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Archbishop's Australia Day call for prayers for rain

Tasmania's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has called on all Catholics and people of good will to pray for widespread rain across the nation on this Australia Day weekend.

"While we have much for which to thank God, our need for rain across this nation is desperate - not only to help fight the fires that are raging across the land and overwhelming our people but to bring new life to a parched and weary soil," Archbishop Doyle (pictured) said in a statement released yesterday.

"The livelihoods of so many people are dependent upon the natural resource of rain. This lack must have far-reaching, devastating consequences for families."

Archbishop Doyle also praised and thanked firefighters, especially volunteers, and other emergency service personnel involved in fighting bushfires for their spirit of unselfish generosity.

"I would like to say to each person that you are offering a great witness to the value of unselfish giving," Archbishop Doyle said. "The time you are giving to your fellow Tasmanians is a concrete act of service that counters the trend of individualism often so rife in our communities."

Archbishop Doyle also offered his sympathy to the land and property holders who were suffering losses.

"While there has been no loss of life yet in Tasmania, the loss of property is mounting. This is a devastating reality for those involved."

Archbishop Doyle said he joined his prayers to those of Pope John Paul II, who in a message to the Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, Archbishop Francis Carroll, invoked blessings of strength and consolation upon all those affected by the bushfires.

"His Holiness prays for all fire fighters and all involved in providing assistance to those who have been made homeless, encouraging them to continue their efforts to bring relief and support - and so do I."

Catholic Media Tasmania

Australia Day Council NSW | VIC
Arson blow as danger soars (The Mercury)
Pope prays for Canberra fire disaster victims (23/1/03)
Vinnies announces disaster appeal for fire and drought victims (23/1/03)
Pope John Paul II sends prayers, blessing to bushfire victims (text of statement)
Religious congregations acknowledge Canberra fires emergency workers (22/1/03)
Bishops visit Canberra evacuation centres (The Catholic Weekly)
Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes
Canberra Archbishop pledges prayers, assistance to fire victims (21/1/03)
Archdiocese of Hobart

24 Jan 2003