Valley Offers Prayers for Quake Victims

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Churches across the Valley held mid-week services Wednesday with the Haiti quake victims weighing heavily on many hearts. Across the Valley, people prayed for the families who have lost loved ones and the rescue efforts underway. At Fresno's People's Church, churchgoers say they immediately thought about the victims after hearing about the quake and then turned to prayer. "You're helpless otherwise. You can just say, oh those poor people, or you can watch it on TV. But the first thing you can do is pray," said Lila Townsend.

More prayers were lifted up in song during a prayer service at the St. Paul Newman Center. Fresno's Catholic community has a heightened sense of loss. It's estimated 80 percent of Haiti's population is Catholic. The quake demolished the National Cathedral and its archbishop is among the dead. "The Catholic Church is suffering in Haiti just like the rest of the community," said Rev. Jesse Avila with the Diocese of Fresno.

Avila said the country is poor by any standard so the unthinkable misery has people across the world taking action to help. "I think that's why there's so much, there's just so much feeling and compassion is because people who know the suffering appreciate the fact that this is the last thing that Haiti needed," said Avila.

Catholic relief organizations are mobilizing to help in aid efforts. Catholic Charities has already pledged $5 million dollars and the Diocese of Fresno plans to announce its plans to help Thursday.

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earthquake, haiti, local, amanda perez
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