Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso, Chile is encouraging the faithful to offer aid to the victims of a wildfire that burned more than 80 homes and forced over 1200 people to evacuate.
“We are praying, and we ask everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters who have been affected,” said Bishop Duarte in a statement published on the Chilean Bishops’ website.
The wildfire started on Feb. 14 on one of the hills that surround Valparaiso Bay. It quickly spread because of strong winds and hot temperatures, charring nearly 74 acres.
The port city of Valparaiso is a favorite tourist destination for summer vacationers.
“I sincerely thank the priests, deacons, consecrated men and women and those in pastoral ministry who have worked day and night to help the families affected by this terrible wildfire,” the bishop said.
After expressing thanks to police and firefighters who aided those in need during the fire, he urged that a second collection be taken up in Masses the next Sunday to help the victims of the fire.