Dear Father Carlos Luís,
I would like to thank you for the invitation you made to the Congregation to help the people of the diocese of Beira, which was struck by a tragedy whose size is still not fully known and the consequences of which, including disease and hunger, are only beginning to take shape.Several entities of the Congregation are responding with expressions of solidarity and generous contributions. Thank you.
On Sunday, 31 March, we celebrated a Memorial Mass for the victims of the diocese; it is estimated that 600 died within the diocese, but we know of hundreds of bodies that have been found in areas where rivers flooded for thousands of square kilometers. During this memorial we asked ourselves what the voice of the Lord wants to tell us in this Lenten journey; for these people it has taken on a dimension similar to the crossing the desert, like the people of Israel.
I presided over the celebration at the parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the largest religious building in the diocese. It had collapsed with the fury of the wind.Next to the altar, the statue of the Sacred Heart stood, recovered from the rubble. A wounded statue, its head and right hand are broken. The left hand that indicates the pierced Heart has taken on greater prominence, reminding us that it is thanks to that wound that we are saved.
Even with the wounds that this cyclone has opened in our Church, society and lives, there can live opportunities. They are found in the reaction of the people, in the gestures of solidarity, in the participation in the Eucharist. We note that something new is already emerging: greater solidarity, greater attention to the poor, greater unity between celebration and life. Yes, from this tragedy a renewed Christian community can be born. Even through this wound, which Christ brings into his Body, into his People, we will be cured.
United in the Heart of Jesus,
+ Claudio, scj
Bishop of Beira