News from Chile - March 16, 2010 Print

To my Fellow Assumptionists and Friends of the Assumptionists throughout the world

Let me first of all send you greetings and thank you for your concern at this time of national and local catastrophe.

Life continues here in Lota; things are slowly getting back to normal such as the sale and distribution of food. Salaries have been canceled for most workers as well asbenefits for retirees.

In particular, our Assumptionist residence has been evaluated by German experts and local architects and the results are not very encouraging.  The building suffered serious structural  damage on the second floor, especially the northern and southern walls.  

According to these experts, were there another significant earthquake, both walls would collapse and cause even more damage to the church to which the rectory is attached. The recommendation is to tear down the second floor and replace it with lighter materials. On a very temporary basis, we might beable to reinforce the walls and allow use of the second floor which we use as parish meeting space. Needless to say, the precariousness of the seond floor has left the first floor where welive in some danger.

Another major problem the damage to the rectory has created is that we cannot use the main entrance to the grammar school because it is located right next to one of the weakened walls.The much beloved six and a half foot statue of the Blessed Mother perched on the hill overlooking Lota was smashed to pieces in the earthquake. All that remains is the base.

As you can see, things are difficult especially since we don't know where we will find the resources to begin the repairs we must undertake. Even though the rectory has been designated a historical momument by the local government, we don't know if they or any other agency in Chile will be able to help us out. Their first concern will be the restoration of 4,000 homes that were destroyed here in Lota, many of them belonging to our parishioners who are living in deplorable conditions.

Many people have asked us how they can help. Truth be told, we have received food, water and other items. The biggest question is where we shall find the funds to repair and rebuild. Many volunteers have come to help with immediate needs. If you want to help, I think the best way is to send money or building materials to assist us in our reconstruction efforts, especially our residence and school.

Hoping that you can appreciate our need for resources and counting on your prayers, I ask you fraternally to see what you are capable of doing to help us in our efforts to recover.

Fraternally yours in Christ and in the Assumption,

Fr. Esteban Monsalves a.a

Superior and pastor

Lota, Chile

March 16, 2010


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Last Updated on Monday, 29 March 2010 07:48