Members of a search and rescue team carry the body of a quake victim found amongst the rubble in Bangsal, northern Lombok Island on Aug. 8, three days after the area was struck by an earthquake. (Photo by Adek Berry/AFP)
Two Indonesian dioceses have issued an appeal calling on Catholics to raise funds and show solidarity with thousands of victims of the deadly earthquake that struck the tourist island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara province.
The 7-magnitude quake, which also hit the neighboring island of Bali on Aug. 5, has killed at least 131 people and left more than 1,440 injured, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
The disaster also damaged thousands of buildings and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.
In a letter dated Aug. 7, Jakarta Archdiocese said "our brothers and sisters … are now suffering because of the quake" and "moved by an embodiment of God's love and a solidarity for humanity, we call for parishes to decide on their own upon how they collect charity funds for humanity, for the quake victims."
Father Samuel Pangestu, the archdiocese's vicar-general, said there are various things each parish can do for the cause.
"They can use the second collection of Sunday Mass or distribute empty envelopes to parishioners [to make donations]," he told ucanews.com.
"What we want to underline is their solidarity and compassion," he said. "We don't have a target on how much money they should collect and when the funds should be sent. We need to see the situation first."
He said all funds collected would be sent directly to Denpasar Diocese.
Denpasar Diocese issued a similar appeal the same day.
Signed by three priests including Father Evensius Dewantoro, chairman of the diocese's Socio-Economic Development Commission, the appeal called for parish priests to encourage parishioners to provide aid for quake victims.
The diocese recommended that parishes and Catholic foundations send financial aid or basic necessities such as rice, instant noodles, cooking oil, drinking water and milk.
Speaking with ucanews.com, Father Dewantoro said distribution would be carried out in cooperation with church social action arm Caritas Indonesia.
"With the bishop's approval, we will use the money to buy necessities. An emergency response team will deliver material aid including mattresses, blankets, and food this Friday [Aug. 10]," he said.
Maria Suparni from St. Christophorus Parish in West Jakarta welcomed the appeal and promised to contribute.
"Even though it's not much, I want to show my solidarity with the quake victims. I want to help them sincerely. This is an embodiment of the Catholic faith: sharing love with others," she said.