Bishops' emergency appeal for Burma Development and Peace receives $ 1.8 million

    MONTREAL, June 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Catholics have once again shown
their generosity. Asked to support emergency and reconstruction efforts in
Burma, they promptly sent a total of $ 1.8 million to Development and Peace.
    "It is still a long journey. The full recovery will take at least two
years. Cyclone Nargis was nature's nuclear attack on our people. But the tide
is turning, because people like you felt their pain from far and rushed with
assistance. The Church could save lives because of you", writes Archbishop Bo
of Yangon, Burma, in a letter to the Caritas Internationalis network.
    1.5 million people are currently facing an emergency situation in Burma,
after a devastating cyclone hit the country on May 3rd.
    "Canadian Catholics were very generous in the face of a crisis that was
threatening to be forgotten", adds Josianne Gauthier, Deputy Executive
Director of Development and Peace.
    "Through their response, they sent a message of solidarity to the victims
of the cyclone and demonstrated their confidence in the work of the Catholic
Church here and in Burma. Thanks to the donations that we received, we will be
able to support reconstruction work and help families get back to their normal
lives, little by little."

    Parish collection

    At the end of the month of May, the President of the Canadian Conference
of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop V. James Weisgerber, asked the Bishops to
conduct an emergency collection in all of the parishes in the country.
    The parishes had until Friday, June 13 to inform Development and Peace of
the amount that they had collected in order to be eligible for the matching
funds provided by the Canadian International Development Agency.
    Some 600 parishes declared that they collected nearly $ 1 million.
$ 800,000 has already been received from individual donors, religious
communities, parishes and dioceses.

    Development and Peace is currently participating in an emergency relief
initiative led by Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church's international
humanitarian network. Aid provided includes the distribution of food, medical
equipments, water purification systems and temporary shelter for some 60,000
victims of the cyclone. Development and Peace has already sent a sum of
$50,000 to the country and is in the process of sending another $500,000 to
continue its emergency relief and rehabilitation work.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, (514)
257-8711 ext. 307,

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