Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Earthquake damages dozens of homes in Guatemala mission territory

by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the November 15, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

Children survey the rubble of one of the “dozens” of homes damaged or destroyed in Ixtahuacán, Guatemala, by the Nov. 7 earthquake. (IR photo courtesy of Father David Baronti)

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, word came from the Guatemala Mission regarding damage resulting from the nearby magnitude-7.4 earthquake.

Father David Baronti, a Spokane Diocese priest who ministers in the mission, reported via email that although the epicenter of the quake was about 50 miles from the mission territory, “We certainly felt it.”

At press time, reports were still coming in, but at least 48 people were killed in the area around San Marcos, Guatemala.

In Ixtahuacán, where Father Baronti is headquartered, “there was more structural damage than in the earthquake of ’76,” he wrote.

“About five or six houses fell completely in the central town, and another dozen or more left uninhabitable. Probably dozens of houses counting the caserios fell completely to the ground.”

No one was killed in Ixtahuacán, “and the church remained intact,” he said.

Father Baronti said they would be using the mission’s Marian Center to provide shelter for those either in fear of aftershocks or who had lost their own houses.

The earthquake struck shortly after 10:30 a.m. just off the country’s Pacific Coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In a telegram Nov. 8 to Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela Nunez of Vera Paz, president of the Guatemalan bishops’ conference, Pope Benedict XVI offered his prayers for the earthquake victims and prayed God would “comfort those affected by such an enormous misfortune.”

The pope also prayed that the response to the earthquake would be one of solidarity and charity, and he asked “Christian communities, civil institutions and people of good will” to provide aid to the survivors.

The Spokane Diocese’s Guatemala Commission has set up a special fund for donations to help provide emergency relief to the area. Please make checks out “Earthquake Relief.” Checks should be sent to:

Earthquake Relief
c/o Guatemala Mission
P.O. Box 1453
Spokane, WA 99210-1453

(Catholic News Service contributed to this story.)

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