Australians to remember tsunami victims
Catholics will join the rest of Australia on Sunday in observing a national day of mourning and reflection for the victims of the Boxing Day Asian earthquake and tsunami. Prime Minister John Howard has asked Australians to observe a minute's silence at 11.59am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time), marking the time at which the devastating earthquake which preceded the tsunamis struck.
The Catholic Leader reports that Mr Howard called for the observance in light of the tragedy which claimed more than 150,000 lives, left hundreds of thousands of people homelessness and caused widespread destruction in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives and other nations in the region.
In Brisbane, the archdiocese's Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care (CMPC), with the Indonesian Catholic community, will celebrate a Mass for the victims of the tsunami at Sacred Heart Church, Rosalie at 4.30pm.
Queensland Churches Together (QCT) has organised an ecumenical service at St John's Anglican Cathedral at 3pm. Anglican Bishop Richard Appleby will preside and Brisbane Catholic archdiocese will be represented.
St Stephen's Cathedral administrator Fr Peter Dillon said prayers for those who had died in the tsunami, the survivors and the families of those affected would continue to be included in Masses at the cathedral.
Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, Fr Geoff Baron, said Masses would also continue to include prayers for the tsunami victims, and Caritas Australia envelopes would be available for those wanting to help.
Auxiliary Bishop Hilton Deakin celebrated Mass at the cathedral on January 5 for the tsunami victims, with about 650 people attending.
Dean of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, Fr Neil Brown, said the tsunami tragedy would be remembered at all Masses in the cathedral today but especially the 10.30am and 6pm Masses that attract the biggest crowds.
He said the tsunami was a major focus at the cathedral on January 2, the first Sunday after Boxing Day, when about 1500 people attended the main Mass and a major appeal was held.
In the days immediately after the tsunami, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president, Archbishop Francis Carroll, pledged the national Church's prayer and practical support for the victims.
Archbishop Carroll of Canberra and Goulburn, in a message of prayerful sympathy, said he was contacting the presidents of the bishops' conferences of the region hit by the natural disaster to express the support and solidarity of the Catholic Church in Australia.
He said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Australian people.
'We must continue this support in the months and years ahead as our neighbour countries try to rebuild shattered lives and communities,' he said.
Mourning for victims of tsunami (Catholic Leader 16/1/05)
Caritas Australia Asian Eathquake/Tsunami Appeal
Archdiocese of Brisbane
Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn
Archdiocese of Melbourne
Archdiocese of Sydney
Queensland Churches Together
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14 Jan 2005