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Japanese Church officials struggle to react to earthquake

By on Friday, 11 March 2011

A tsunami hits the coastal area of Iwanuma in northeastern Japan (CNS photo/Reuters/Kyodo)

A tsunami hits the coastal area of Iwanuma in northeastern Japan (CNS photo/Reuters/Kyodo)

Damage from a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and ensuing tsunamis are preventing Church officials in Japan from assessing needs as tsunami warnings are issued for 50 other countries.

Yasufumi Matsukuma, a staffer at the Japanese bishops’ conference, told the Asian Church news agency UCA News that most staffers would remain in the offices overnight because of suspended rail service and continuous aftershocks.

“In Tokyo, telephone lines are so busy that I cannot contact diocesan chancellor offices in Japan. Aftershocks have followed. The tsunamis are terrible and we cannot get any information concerning the Church yet,” he said.

Disruption of telecommunications has made it impossible for the conference’s general secretariat to contact Sendai, near the quake’s epicenter, and neighbouring dioceses, he added.

Television and web video showed cars, ships and even buildings being swept away by a wall of water hitting Sendai, and CNN reported police discovered at least 200 to 300 bodies in the city.

Daisuke Narui, executive director of Caritas Japan, said in a statement: “We are still collecting information at this point, but currently we are not able to communicate on the phone. Cell phones are also out of service.”

A spokeswoman for Catholic Relief Services said the agency was on high alert in many countries in Asia, including the Philippines and Caritas Oceania, which is active in many islands in the Pacific.

This earthquake is the strongest since a magnitude 9.1 quake struck off Indonesia in December 2004. The quake and the tsunamis that followed left about 220,000 people dead or missing in more than a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean.

“We know from 2004 the devastating impact that these tsunamis can have,” said Sean Callahan, CRS executive vice president for overseas operations. “As with all such disasters, CRS will help people recover from the emergency and stand with them as they recover.”

  • Art

    My deepest
    prayers are sent-up on behalf of the victims and survivors of these
    Disasters.  I am very concerned about everything that is happening. 
    I come to a realization and conclusion for myself and hopefully everyone
    else.  It is time to wake up!  God does things sometimes different
    than we do or would.  God who exists is purifying the earth and its
    inhabitants.  The Lord is in control of the heavens and earth, and He
    allows all that ever happens.  Jesus does not want any wrong-doing or
    evil, and to help prevent its spread in the future, He is going to remove all
    existing sin and corruption.  He is not going to approve or justify any
    sinful lifestyles, false gods and false religions.  God’s justice and
    chastisement is opening, just look at all that is happening in the world and
    read Sacred Scripture.  Things are happening fast and will only increase
    in magnitude.  Pray for grace and mercy, so that He will give the world
    and its people, the most beautiful and best outcome.  Pray so that during
    this birth pain of His second coming, he would spare lives, save souls, stops
    destruction and cause good to flourish.  Also, pray that people will not
    be deceived and embrace the false and evil-one.  No matter what, Jesus is
    going to take back the earth and later renew it, and also, He will prune and
    sanctify a chosen faithful religious people.  Meanwhile, giving God, His
    word, His church and His mother, disrespect and unbelief will not help or save
    you.  You are witnessing now, Sacred Scripture being opened up and fulfilled
    in this very generation.  Can you not see the signs of the times? You will
    continue to see wealth being taken away and other prophesies fulfilled. 
    Scientists will become more puzzled and find it increasingly difficult to
    explain the coming events and phenomena.  Prepare, get ready now! Life on
    earth is temporary and uncertain, yet, judgment and an after-life are guaranteed.  Believe in Jesus as true God and man, recite
    the Apostles’ Creed, get baptized, renew your baptism through an act of
    contrition and reconciliation, repent and let go of all serious and grave sin,
    pray for yourself and for your families. Pray for amendment of life, and so to
    accept all of God’s love, grace, mercy, peace, protection, healing and
    deliverance from evil.  Go to church, read the Bible and open your heart,
    and pray! Trust in God’s plan, yes, there will be suffering; yet, He will take
    care of you if you do not turn away! This is it, the time has come! I am just
    repeating what I have heard, extracted from the basics of those authentic
    messages already given to the real modern-day-prophets.  This philosophy,
    I have learned from studying Our Heavenly Mother speaking to us all, at Akita,
    Garabandal, Fatima, Medjugorje, Lourdes and others.  It’s global, look it
    up yourself! She is warning everyone and giving instruction through her
    children.  There is hope, have faith and accept God’s love.  Later, a
    new era of peace will reign on earth, then, in the end, there will be rejoicing
    and eternal happiness for the victors.  Thank you and may God bless you.