Church supports students after London fire disaster

A memorial wall for the Grenfell Tower victims (CNS/Stefan Wermuth, Reuters)

Church agencies are helping London Catholic school students cope with the trauma of the Grenfell Tower fire, including knowing that some of their fellow students are missing, the Catholic Herald reports.

Children who attended Catholic schools in the shadow of Grenfell Tower are among about those who have yet to be accounted for.

Police have confirmed that 58 people died in the June 14 fire, with the death toll expected to rise as emergency services personnel search the ruins for bodies.

John Paul Morrison, the director of education for the Archdiocese of Westminster, told Catholic News Service the Archdiocese was offering counselling to students, to help them to deal with the trauma of the tragedy.

“What they have witnessed was incredibly shocking,” said Mr Morrison. “Television and media can only touch on it.

“The thing that really hit the students was the screaming,” he said. “I spoke to some people yesterday who were very upset by that – by hearing, ‘Help me!’, ‘Help me!'”

Mr Morrison confirmed that students were missing from the schools, but he declined to say how many, saying he did not wish to identify them prematurely.

He said hundreds of other students and their families were evacuated from the vicinity of the 24-story building because of the possibility that it might collapse and scatter debris.

All students of St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, which is close to the tower, have been relocated to a school outside of the zone cordoned off by police.

Mr Morrison said that teachers tried extremely hard to provide students with a normal day in class, and schools across the archdiocese helped by delivering books and other materials needed at short notice.

“It was good to see all elements of the Church’s mission come together to address what is an incredibly said but also an incredibly complex situation,” he added.

St Francis of Assisi Church in Notting Hill was one of two churches to serve as a collection point for members of the public who wished to contribute clothing, food and other supplies for families dislocated by the fire.

FULL STORY

Church offers counselling to children affected by Grenfell Tower fire (Catholic Herald)

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