Vatican City, Jan 27, 2021 / 02:40 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis has given a Catholic charity in Croatia more than $121,000 for earthquake relief.
The money was given to Caritas, part of the local bishops’ conference, to aid families in the Banija region, which was struck by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake last month.
The quake and its foreshocks and aftershocks, which hit on Dec. 29, killed at least seven people, injured dozens, and destroyed homes and churches.
One victim was the organist at the parish church in the town of Žažina, Stanko Zec, who was found dead in the rubble of the church.
Many people have been left without shelter after their homes were damaged.
In March 2020, the capital Zagreb was also struck by a magnitude 5.3 earthquake which injured 27 people and killed a teenage girl.
The funds from Pope Francis were donated through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
“Caritas Croatia thanks the Holy Father Francis for his expression of proximity in prayer and material assistance that will provide warm and safe shelter to those left without roofs over their heads,” Bishop Bože Radoš of Varaždin, the president of Caritas Croatia, said Jan. 26.
The charity’s director, Msgr. Fabijan Svalina, said, “every day we bear witness to the active love of numerous volunteers, citizens and companies. We are especially pleased that Pope Francis has decided to act in a timely and concrete manner…”
Following the December earthquake, the Croatian bishops’ conference donated over $1 million in emergency aid to victims.
The bishops have also been setting up temporary housing for those whose homes were destroyed, in partnership with Caritas Croatia and the Order of Malta.
Last week, the bishops commended “victims of the coronavirus pandemic and destructive earthquakes” to the intercession of the Virgin Mary.
In a statement issued Jan. 19, at the end of their plenary meeting in Zagreb, the bishops mourned those who had died of the virus and natural disasters in the country.
“We commend the entire homeland and all its citizens, especially the Archdiocese of Zagreb and the Diocese of Sisak, wounded by earthquakes, and all the victims of the coronavirus pandemic and destructive earthquakes, to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Most Faithful Advocate,” the bishops said.
An estimated 86% of Croatia’s population of 4 million is Catholic.
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