Australia grieves for victims of bushfires

 Churches across Australia have launched prayers for bushfire victims in Victoria, where 126 people are already confirmed dead.

The ABC reports that across Victoria people are looking to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, as the state attempts to come to terms with the deadliest bushfire disaster in Australian history.

The Kinglake region, north-east of Melbourne, remains the worst affected, losing more than 550 homes.

Whole towns, such as Marysville, have been burnt to the ground, with more than 750 homes across the state now confirmed destroyed.

A change in the weather has helped firefighters, with Victorian fire authorities saying they were focusing on protecting buildings overnight as conditions remain favourable.

A number of churches have been destroyed but no details are yet available.

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said his thoughts and prayers are with the communities suffering under the destructive force of the unprecedented bushfires in Victoria.

"Like all Victorians, I am deeply shocked by the loss of life, My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and those victims who are now in our hospitals,", the Archbishop said.

"I hold the greatest admiration for the courage and dedication of all the emergency services personnel,community workers and those in government who have worked so hard to protect the community. I pray for their safety as they work to bring the fires under control.

"I know many in the community feel a sense of powerlessness in the face of this crisis. I encourage the community to give blood and to respond generously to the appeals that have been established to assist fellow Victorians and communities to recover and rebuild their lives."

He said the Church stands in solidarity with the community ready to assist in whatever way it can and said that he will continue to encourage prayers in all the churches of the archdiocese to honour those who have died and support those who have lost loved ones.

Catholic Religious Australia President Sr Clare Condon SGS has expressed deep sadness and sorrow at the tragic loss of life and other human suffering in the Victorian bush fires.

She assured all those involved, "those who have suffered great loss or injury, those who from our emergency services who have and continue to work tirelessly, solidarity and the support of prayers of all the Religious".

"With all Australians, we will work to provide the practical support and help that is needed," she said.

Darwin's Christchurch Anglican Cathedral has already launched prayers for the whole of this week and other churches are expected to take similar initiatives.

Seventy two Victorian government schools will remain closed today but no news is available of Catholic schools.

Source: CathNews

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