Call for prayer as bush faces a 'winter of fear'

Bishops across NSW have supported a plea by the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Francis Carroll, for a special day of prayer for rain on Sunday 12 June.

The Catholic Weekly reports that the appeal coincides with a $250 million-plus Government-backed drought package to aid suffering farmers across the country.

Catholic agencies and clergy in drought-affected areas have painted a "frightening" picture for the coming months with farming families facing a winter of "uncertainty and great fear".

Some towns could run out of water within six to nine months, leaving families and communities facing "severe consequences", they say.

"The desperate plight of farmers, graziers and local rural communities worsens by the day in vast areas of Australia," said Archbishop Carroll (pictured), who revealed that parts of his archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn could be counted among some of the country's worst affected regions.

He has called for Sunday, 12 June, to be "a special day of united prayer" for rain.

The Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes, Bishop Chris Toohey, described the situation as "very serious". He said people regularly pray for rain in his diocese, which covers 53 per cent of the State.

"This is no ordinary drought - and that statement is coming not from me, but from people who have been here a lot longer than I have," he said. "They've never seen anything like it.

Call for prayer as bush faces a 'winter of fear' (Catholic Weekly 5/6/05)

Catholics to pause and pray for rain on June 12 (Canberra Times 1/6/05)
The big dry - united in prayer (Catholic Voice June 2005)
Editorial: Showing we care (Catholic Weekly 5/6/05)

2 Jun 2005