Churches have launched prayers for bushfire victims in Victoria, where 126 people are already confirmed dead.
The ABC reports that across Victoria people are looking to
pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, as the state attempts to
come to terms with the deadliest bushfire disaster in Australian
The Kinglake region, north-east of Melbourne, remains the worst affected, losing more than 550 homes.
Whole towns, such as Marysville, have been burnt to the ground, with
more than 750 homes across the state now confirmed destroyed.
A change in the weather has helped firefighters, with Victorian fire
authorities saying they were focusing on protecting buildings overnight
as conditions remain favourable.
A number of churches have been destroyed but no details are yet available.
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said today that his thoughts and
prayers are with the communities suffering under the destructive force
of the unprecedented bushfires in Victoria.
"Like all Victorians, I am deeply shocked by the loss of life," hesaid.
"My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and those victims who are now in our hospitals,", the Archbishop said.
"I hold the greatest admiration for the courage and dedication of
all the emergency services personnel,community workers and those in
government who have worked so hard to protect the community. I pray for
their safety as they work to bring the fires under control.
"I know many in the community feel a sense of powerlessness in the
face of this crisis. I encourage the community to give blood and to
respond generously to the appeals that have been established to assist
fellow Victorians and communities to recover and rebuild their lives."
He said the Church stands in solidarity with the community ready to assist in whatever way
it can and said that he will continue to encourage prayers in all the
churches of the archdiocese to honour those who have died and support
those who have lost loved ones.
Solidarity from church groups
Catholic Religious Australia President Sr
Clare Condon SGS has expressed deep sadness and sorrow at the tragic loss of life
and other human suffering in the Victorian bush fires.
She assured all those involved, "those who have
suffered great loss or injury, those who from
our emergency services who have and continue to work tirelessly, solidarity and the support of
prayers of all the Religious".
"With all Australians, we will
work to provide the practical support and help that is needed," she said.
Darwin's Christchurch Anglican Cathedral has already launched prayers
for the whole of this week and other churches are expected to take
Seventy two Victorian government schools will remain closed today but no news is available of Catholic schools.
Editor's Note: CathNews readers are invited to post comments
relating to information/initiatives in their parishes/schools or areas.
Grieving Victoria takes stock as toll hits 108 (ABC News)
Archbishop deeply shocked by loss of life; praying for safety of firefighters (Melbourne Archdiocese, Media Release)
Statement from Catholic Religious Australia Victorian bushfires (Catholic Religious Australia, Media Release)
Prayers for bushfire victims (Christchurch Cathedral)
Humanity endures in bushfire tragedy (Eureka Street)
CFA Current Incident Summary
Victorian Bushfire Appeal — donate online