Cardinal Dew was in Rome when news broke of the first earthquake. Pope Francis and local Italians, having recently experienced large earthquakes, expressed deep concern for the people of New Zealand.
“Pope Francis spoke to me at the closing Mass for the Year of Mercy, despite speaking to many people, he came to me and said very sincerely that he was praying for New Zealand following the earthquake and expressed his concern for the welfare of people affected,”
“Kaikoura is part of my diocese and while overseas I kept up to date with news and updates about the situation. I was very concerned, and wanted to visit with people when I returned and there was access,”
[Editor’s Note: Kaikoura is part of the Cardinal’s archdiocese of Wellington which extends from Nelson, Marlborough, Blenheim through the Wellington region and north to Otaki and Wairarapa.]
“I will visit the priests based there and the local Catholic parish and Catholic primary school and Takahanga Marae which has been providing accommodation, meals and support in the days following the first earthquake. This weekend, I want to be with them personally and let them know that we are with them in their time of uncertainty and anxiety,”
[Please note Cardinal Dew will be available for media interviews while in Kaikoura, details below]
“While there is much physical repairing to do, people are also feeling unsafe, uncertain and worried for their livelihoods and their homes,”
“I plan to speak with them and hear how they’ve been affected, their fears and concerns and see what we can do to support them practically too,”
“I will be going with staff from Catholic Social Services, our Turanga Maori Adviser, and our national social justice & humanitarian agency Caritas I also plan to do a Mass in Maori - te Miha Maori and have some prayer time with them, to help bring some comfort in this difficult time.
Cardinal John will be visiting from Saturday afternoon until Monday lunchtime and is available for media interviews during this time. To arrange media interviews please contact Julianne Hickey, Caritas Director, who will be travelling with the Cardinal, on 021 909 656