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Priest dies in Sendai disaster

Canadian dies of shock after massive earthquake hits diocese

Priest dies in Sendai disaster
Photo: Laval Foreign Mission Society reporter, Tokyo

March 14, 2011

The diocese in Sendai, close to the centre of the earthquake that flattened large areas of northern Japan last Friday, has lost a Canadian priest The diocese posted an obituary Monday on the website of the Japan Bishops’ Conference announcing that Father Andre Lachapelle of the Quebec Foreign Mission Society had died in the quake and accompanying tsunami. Father Lachapelle, who had dedicated much effort to justice and peace in his lifetime, suffered a fatal shock from the catastrophe, said Father Peter Shiro Komatsu, diocesan chancellor. Father Lachapelle, parish priest of Shiogama Church in Miyagi, was in Sendai city at the time the quake struck. He died on his way back to his church, which is about 15 km away, after the quake subsided. Sendai diocese covers the prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, all of which were regions hardest-hit in the March 11 disaster. Father Komatsu said Bishop Martin Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai was unharmed but has yet to receive complete reports on the damage as telecommunications are still disrupted. They were unable to know the situation concerning several churches located in the coastal areas whereas one church in Fukushima was completely damaged and eight churches in Sendai were either unaffected or only slightly damaged.

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