Chile: churches review quake damage



As the aftershocks gradually subside, churches and religious orders in Chile have begun reviewing the damage to their properties.

A Redemptorist Church  was badly damaged in Cauquenes, about 50km from the quake epicentre. Fr Luis Fuica, CSSR., Provincial Bursar said:  "Our five brothers escaped unharmed, but it was a terrible experience. Their residence is now uninhabitable.  Here in Santiago, we had the most damage in our Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. One of the towers was severely damaged. The damage has affected the side windows and the sacristy. Thank God, the interior of the church and the stained-glass windows have not been damaged. Outside the church, as well, there are heavy pieces of stone that have fallen on the road."

The Salesians also report damage to their buildings. At Talca there has been serious damage to the church and sanctuary, and also to the buildings of the Educational Centre.  The school at Concepción, the city where the Archbishop is Salesian Ricardo Ezzati, has also sustained considerable damage.

Speaking from Concepcion, the town nearest the epicentre of the quake, Fr Roberto Simionato, Superior of the 'Orionini' (Opera Don Orione) said: "We are all well. There was no serious damage to the houses. There was great fear, but no harm came to the people: nor brothers, sisters, or guests."

Fr Simionato said that from the first reports, Iquique seems to be fine, while in Santiago, in the houses, in the “Little Cottolengo,” in schools, parishes, chapels, and in the Sisters' houses, there was some damage done to windows, walls, etc., but nothing serious in the structures of the buildings. He said: "The parish church, which is a big old building, has suffered more damage. The Provincial House has suffered damages on the top floor. The ceiling has fallen down, along with plaster, books, cabinets ... It was scary, but there were no serious consequences."

"At Rancagua, they reported damage especially to the church, which dates back to colonial times and will need work before opening its doors again. In Quintero, on the coast near Valparaiso, the damage was not significant, but there were only broken windows, cracks, falling plaster. Los Angeles is our home closest to the epicenter in the region of Concepcion.”

Fr Roberto said:  “Our church has survived, but because it was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1960. But all the other buildings, built years ago, will have to be redone. The school is new and has withstood, apart from the damage to windows, ceilings, and some other elements.:

He concluded:  "Thank God the earthquake occurred at night and on a Saturday. Imagine if it had happened on a Monday morning, with 1,700 boys at school, even with just glass and fallen debris, much worse things could have happened."

Source: Fides

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