Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Prayer for Japan

In the wake of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake, resulting tsunamis and nuclear chaos that have ravaged Japan over the last 12 days, in a message over the weekend the president of the Japanese bishops, Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga SJ of Osaka, issued the following prayer, requesting its circulation that the church "might all pray in unity" for the victims of the disaster:
Merciful God, you never depart from us even in the worst of times; be with us in both our joy and in our sadness. Grant your aid and encouragement to those who suffer in the face of this great calamity. We, too, continue to offer you our prayers and sacrifices for their sake. Bring us with all possible haste to the day when all can live in safety. May all those who have lost their lives in the devastation find peaceful repose in your presence. Mother Mary, pray for us.

Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
With Caritas Japan coordinating long-term recovery efforts on the ground -- and the US' Catholic Relief Services seeking out "pathways" to funnel aid in from these shores -- Ikenaga said "it is to be hoped that we will all offer whatever concrete forms of assistance we have the means to provide."

Their toll compounded by the planet's most severe nuclear emergency since Chernobyl in 1986, the quake and tsunamis have claimed over 9,000 lives. Early estimates of the damage have veered into the $300 billion range, making the quake the world's costliest natural disaster to date.

PHOTO: Getty