March 13, 2011

Dear brother priests, brothers and sisters in the Lord:

May God's peace be with you all! Lately, earthquakes successively happened in many areas, including Christchurch (New Zealand), Yunnan (China), in particular, in North-East of Japan where the recent tremor and tsunami caused significant casualties. The international communities are following the events closely and have immediately sent rescue teams and offering their assistance.

Here in Taiwan through news footage and our own experience with the earthquake of 9/21, we can understand better and feel the pain the people of Japan are now suffering. It is thus time to concretely put into practice the commandment "to love God and one's neighbor". The bishops of Taiwan have already sent a letter to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan expressing our sympathy and solicitude. Meanwhile, we would like to make the following appeal:

1. During the Lenten Season, please continue to pray for the victims of natural calamities imploring the almighty God to soothe their great pains and bestow on them the wisdom, courage and strength for the reconstruction.

2. Making donations for the victims of the recent calamities in Japan. One may send donations to the "Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference" (財團法人天主教會台灣地區主教團) with Post Office Account No. 19700247, specifying "for the Bishops' Conference of Japan".

3. Taiwan is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Sufficient preparations for earthquake are highly recommended. Parishes, lay faithful and families should actively prepare to deal with emergency scenarios.

4. Christians (Catholic and Protestants) who are engaged in medical field are called upon to join rescue teams organized either by the government or NGO organizations to help Japan.

At this moment, while we are united with the victims sharing their sadness, pain, fear and confusion, may we find consolation in the word of God: "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." (John 16:33). Let us offer our prayers with confidence and by means of financial assistance accompany the victims to go through these dark moments towards the light of the resurrection.

God bless everyone and grant us His peace!

Most Rev. John Hung and all the Bishops of the Chinese Regional Bishops Conference