SENDAI, JAPAN – Two months after a strong earthquake created havoc in Japan, setting off a tsunami and crippling a nuclear power plant, Pope Benedict XVI sent an envoy to the disaster area to express the pope’s concern for all affected, the Vatican said.

Cardinal Robert Sarah (right), president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum visited Japan with Msgr Segundo Tejado Munoz, Cor Unum’s undersecretary, from May 13–17.

On May 15, Cardinal Sarah celebrated a memorial Mass for the deceased victims of the recent disasters at Sendai City’s Motoderakoji Cathedral. At the end of the Mass, Cardinal Sarah presented Bishop Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai with the proceeds of a special collection taken up at the Vatican during the Holy Thursday liturgy on behalf of Japan’s disaster victims.

That afternoon, the cardinal went out by car to some of the sites of the devastation. In Shichigahama, a Miyagi Prefecture town, the cardinal walked with others along a strip of land, now barren, where houses had been swept away in the tsunami.

Later, the retinue moved on to Ishinomaki City and Sendai diocese’s base of relief operations at Ishinomaki Church.

On May 14, the cardinal visited Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture, where Saitama diocese is engaged in relief activities. He listened to members of the diocese who are involved in the efforts and visited Onahama Church there. Here, too, money collected at the Vatican was donated to the cause. - CNS, UCANEWS.COM

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