Pope prays for quake-affected Kaikoura

Pope Francis is praying for New Zealanders shaken by last month's earthquake. Photo / AP
Pope Francis is praying for New Zealanders shaken by last month's earthquake. Photo / AP

Leader of the Catholic Church Pope Francis has expressed deep concern for Kiwis affected by last month's quake, having recently experienced large earthquakes in Italy.

Archbishop of Wellington Cardinal John Dew, whose diocese extends to Kaikoura, will deliver the Pope's message to Kaikoura this weekend.

Cardinal Dew was in Rome when news broke of the 7.8- magnitude earthquake.

"Pope Francis spoke to me at the closing Mass for the Year of Mercy, despite speaking to many people, he came to me and said very sincerely that he was praying for New Zealand following the earthquake and expressed his concern for the welfare of people affected," said Cardinal Dew.

"Kaikoura is part of my diocese and while overseas I kept up to date with news and updates about the situation. I was very concerned, and wanted to visit with people when I returned and there was access.

Cardinal Dew is set to arrive in Kaikoura on Saturday.

"I will visit the priests based there and the local Catholic parish and Catholic primary school and Takahanga Marae which has been providing accommodation, meals and support in the days following the first earthquake," said the Cardinal.

"I want to be with them personally and let them know that we are with them in their time of uncertainty and anxiety."

The Cardinal said he plans to speak to the people of Kaikoura and hear how they have been affected and what can be done to support them.

"While there is much physical repairing to do, people are also feeling unsafe, uncertain and worried for their livelihoods and their homes."

Staff from Catholic Social Services, their Turanga Māori Adviser and national social justice and humanitarian agency Caritas will accompany Cardinal Dew.

Cardinal Dew also plans to do a Mass in Māori and have some prayer time with those affected.

- NZ Herald

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