Christian survivors of the earthquake that devastated areas of Java island prayed outside damaged churches yesterday, just over a week after the disaster killed more than 6,000 people. Reuters reported that Masses in Yogyakarta, 440 km east of Jakarta, were held out of doors because, although some churches were still standing, most bore visible cracks on their walls and spires. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation and Muslims make up the majority in Yogyakarta city. But, 17 percent of the city's half-million population is Christian and many of its leading hospitals and schools are Catholic institutions. In the nearby area of Bantul, which suffered the most damage, Catholic priest Gregorius Utomo from the Sacred Heart church told Reuters that aid from tents to blankets had mostly come not from the government but from private donors elsewhere in Java. "We need to calm people. They are still in panic. We need to give them aid for daily use because they have nothing," he said. A wedding ceremony went ahead nearby with bride and groom clad in traditional Javanese garb facing a simple cross.
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