The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

China

Sichuan Catholics Shaken By Another Earthquake, Church Buildings Damaged

Updated: September 02, 2008 12:05 PM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Share this article :
Xichang diocese in Sichuan province is helping victims and assessing damage to church buildings after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit the province, which is still recovering from the May quake that killed tens of thousands. ch_sichuan_province_four_places.gifThe epicenter of the Aug. 30 earthquake was where Panzhihua city and Huili county meet in southern Sichuan, near the border with Yunnan province. Xichang diocese, based in the city of the same name, 1,890 kilometers southwest of Beijing, covers the affected area. Father John Lei Jiapei, diocesan administrator, spoke with UCA News on Sept. 1. He said parish priests at Panzhihua and Huili have gone to remote rural areas to check on the situation of local Catholics, mostly members of China´s Han ethnic majority. Huili is part of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, where Yi people form the second-largest ethnic group after the Han. Father Lei said he had not heard of any Catholics being injured or killed in the quake. However, it left two Church buildings unsafe to use. As of Sept. 1, the official China Earthquake Administration was reporting Panzhihua-Huili earthquake had killed 36 people and injured another 506. The official Xinhua news agency has reported more than 150,000 people have been displaced. Father Joseph Lei Jun of Huili parish visited the quake-hit area on Sept. 1 and brought 5,000 yuan (US$731) for people who now have to live in tents. Because Huili is located in a seismic zone, the local people have become accustomed to frequent earthquakes and stayed calm after this latest one, the priest said after his visit. Father John Wang Shengjun, Panzhihua parish priest, talked to UCA News on Sept. 1 afternoon after inspecting the 100-square-meter Catholic community center in Datian township. The venue was damaged in the quake and the priest´s dormitory next to it is tilted, Father Wang reported. None of the 500 Catholics were injured, but a dozen of their homes were damaged or collapsed, he said. The 78-year-old Catholic caretaker of the venue, who lives there, initially refused to leave the premises after the quake. Father Wang finally persuaded him to move elsewhere. Since the government has inspected the venue and declared it not suitable for use, religious services will be suspended for the moment, the priest said. Father Wang holds Mass once a month at Datian, but local Catholics gather on their own for the Way of the Cross on Fridays and prayer services on Sundays. "It is lucky that there was no Church activity when the quake hit," he said. Father Joseph Lei planned to inspect a century-old church in Mugu with the diocesan administrator on Sept. 2. The parish management committee has informed him the 213-square meter church was damaged. About 700 Catholics live nearby, and the priest holds Mass for them once a month. Mugu was only slightly affected by the quake, he noted, and no injuries or deaths were reported there. The 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan on May 12 killed 69,225 and another 17,939 were still listed as missing as of Aug. 12. It injured another 374,640 people. Chengdu diocese, based in the provincial capital of the same name, suffered property damage or loss estimated at nearly 80 million yuan (US$12 million). According to Chengdu diocese´s Church Restoration Office, 14 churches completely or partially collapsed and 27 others were severely damaged from the May quake. Thirty-seven Catholic laypeople died and many Catholic families were displaced. END

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution