Churches pray, provide aid as death toll from flooding climbs

Debris  near flooded homes in Kreuzberg, Germany, on Monday (CNS/Wolfgang Rattay, Reuters)

Catholic churches in Germany have offered spiritual and financial support to survivors of devastating flooding in two regions of the country. Source: Crux.

At Masses on Sunday, bishops, priests and parishioners prayed for those who died, emergency workers who continued to clear mud-lined streets and residents seeking to salvage what they could from damaged and destroyed homes, the German Catholic news agency KNA reported.

Officials recorded at least 196 deaths on July 19 in western and southern Germany, eastern Belgium and parts of the Netherlands. Hundreds more were missing.

In a visit to the region on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the catastrophe the worst natural disaster in the country in 60 years.

The German Defence Ministry said on Twitter that about 1,000 soldiers had been sent to 20 towns and rural areas in the three states most affected by the flooding.

Pope Francis reiterated his sympathy for the victims of the flooding in the three countries, asking that God to receive those who died, comfort survivors, and strengthen rescue workers as he addressed the crowd in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday.

Two churches in Trier, a Mosel River city in western Germany that suffered extensive damage, held mourning services.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne expressed shock over the devastation.

“Where telephones were still working, I was able to talk with many priests and deacons in the affected regions,” he told the Catholic news site domradio.de. The Cologne Archdiocese was providing 100,000 euros ($160,845) as well as emergency shelter.

FULL STORY

German churches pray, provide aid as European flooding death toll climbs (Crux

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