Thankfully, members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart escaped harm from the recent earthquakes in Ecuador. However, many of the people to whom they minister were not as lucky. Ten parishioners in Bahía de Caráquez are among the dead and many more were injured. Homes and businesses were destroyed.
On April 20 we received an update from Fr. Pedro Jesús Arenas, one of our SCJs in Ecuador.
“We’re loading trucks with supplies and headed for Pedernales, the worst affected area,” said Fr. Pedro. “One can feel the tremors, realizing the devastation at the epicenter of the earthquake. The Church of Quito reacted quickly. The Bishop and the Nuncio went to Pedernales and with the help of the priests arranged to get aid through the streets of the parish; it was collected and put on trucks.
“There are many dead and wounded; as priests we want to be present to give comfort and aid: water, clothing, food, things that people have generously given. We go with the police because people are desperate and they will do desperate things, but we want the aid to get to the most severely affected areas.”
Fr. Pedro thinks that the death toll will rise and could surpass a thousand. “There are areas where even the army cannot get in so there are still people caught in the rubble, the death toll will rise.”
He looks to the future with anxiety. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Fr. Pedro, “Everything is in shambles. We will need a lot of help for a long time. We want to scream, and one way to do that is through prayer. Our sweet God is there and that helps.”
Raising funds for Ecuador
The Priests of the Sacred Heart are raising funds to help the people of Ecuador. Although initially we reported that one of the SCJ houses was damaged in the quake, we recently learned that was not the case. Our houses and facilities have not been damaged but we want to help the families who have been affected.
The US Province has pledged $10,000 to relief efforts. Click here if you are able to make a donation toward helping the people of Ecuador.