Christchurch earthquake: Pope sends message of condolence

By Andrew Koubaridis

A message from the Pope was read out at a special service to pray for safety in the days ahead at the Our Lady of Victories Church special service last night.
About 80 people - a mixture of young and old, families, and school students - ventured out in rainy, cool conditions and despite police warnings to stay inside and keep off the roads.
As if anyone needed reminding about what brought them together, another aftershock briefly shook the church before the service began.
The Mass was led by Bishop Barry Jones who said "moments of tragedy" were moments people needed to come together and pray for those killed and trapped by the earthquake. His usual church in Christchurch has been badly damaged.
Bishop Jones also made special mention of the men and women who were "working their best" in a "selfless activity" to try to free the trapped and injured.
"The Holy Father was saddened by the sudden destruction and loss of life due to the recent earthquake," he said, reading Pope Benedict's message.
He too offered his condolences to those mourning loved ones and for everyone helping in the rescue effort.
Bishop Jones reminded everyone that bad things happening was not God punishing people, despite the "tragedy that has unfolded in our city over the past 24 hours".
"Such thinking is a mistake ... it's not about vengeance," he said.
One woman at the service said it was something she wouldn't have missed. "There's so much happening [in the community] but it's always good to stop and reflect."

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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