In an official statement released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge commended the heroic efforts of firefighters and the resilience of affected communities. He also acknowledged that many may be feeling a sense of helplessness in the face of this growing tragedy. "Prayerful support of our neighbours is an integral part of our response. ... A genuinely Catholic response to a crisis of this magnitude must draw strength from prayer which inspires concrete and compassionate action."
The ACBC has prepared a number of prayer resources for use in local parishes and communities. Click on the links below to download:
Special collection on Australia Day weekend (25-26 January)
As part of a national response, parishes are also being encouraged to take up a special collection at Masses on Australia Day weekend. This concrete response can complement the work already taking place on the ground, led by governments and first responders, but augmented by faith communities and other groups. We remember the great heartache of the Black Saturday fires, and know well that the effects of such trauma will be felt for many months, and even years to come. Proceeds will go to the St Vincent de Paul Bushfire Appeal
and ensures that our brothers and sisters have a chance to rebuild their lives after the devastation of these fires.
As a parish, you might also like to offer the opportunity for quiet prayer by opening your doors to local parishioners and anyone seeking assistance during this difficult time.