USCCB provides $280,000 for temporary chapels in earthquake-ravaged Chile

A priest celebrates Mass for earthquake survivors in front of a damaged church in Constitucion, Chile, March 7. (CNS/Maglio Perez, Reuters)

Twenty temporary chapels will be built in areas affected by the Feb. 27 earthquake in Chile under a $280,000 grant from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The grant will allow the Chilean church to provide worship space in some of the parishes that were heavily damaged during the magnitude 8.8 quake.

Nearly 1 million Chilean Catholics are unable to worship in their home parishes.

Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity under the guidance of Pope Benedict XVI, is providing 15 additional chapels.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio, chairman on the bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, said in a statement that the bishops learned of the situation through Aid to the Church in Need and decided to fund the effort.

An architect in Chile has designed a chapel for 150 people that will be used in the areas where churches are no longer usable.

The subcommittee also approved nearly $50,000 in aid to the Chilean Church for pastoral projects related to the crisis caused by the earthquake. Plans call for subcommittee members to visit Chile to assess ways the U.S. church can assist in recovery efforts.

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