Wednesday the 16th of June

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

New Zealand priests find ways to be with people affected by quake

The seaside town of Kaikoura on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island might have had its road and rail links with the outside world cut off after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, but its Catholic priest found a way to get into the town to celebrate Sunday Mass and be with his people.

Passionist Fr Pat McIndoe of Marlborough planned to “hitch a ride” on a flight into Kaikoura on 18th November, said parish administrator Ginetta Petersen.

Fr McIndoe, who is based in Blenheim at the top of the South Island, is scheduled to stay in Kaikoura for 10 days. Petersen said he will assess what sort of help people there most need.

She added that the priest’s hoped-for place on the flight came about as a result of a conversation with a parishioner, a teacher at a Blenheim preschool. Fr McIndoe expressed his desire to get to Kaikoura.

“She knew somebody, who knew somebody, who said there was a flight going … (from) Marlborough Aero Club.” So the plan is to “squeeze him in.”

The earthquake, which struck at 12:02 am on 14th November, caused large land slips, which blocked road and rail access to Kaikoura, a popular tourist venue. Power and communications were interrupted. Two fatalities were linked with the earthquake. More than 2,000 aftershocks were reported, including one of 6.5 magnitude.

Picture: Damage to a railway line near Tirohanga, New Zealand, is seen on 15th November, a day after a strong earthquake shook the region. (CNS photo/Anthony Phelps, Reuters).