2017-03-20 L’Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis is close to the “beloved population of Peru, severely affected by devastating floods” that lashed the country for at least a week. After reciting the Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, 19 March, the Pontiff asked the faithful to pray for those who had lost their lives and for those involved in the difficult process of assisting survivors.
The toll taken by the torrents that hit various regions of Peru is growing more tragic by the hour. As of Monday, 20 March, local authorities are reporting 75 dead, 263 injured and 20 missing. Over 100,000 people directly incurred damage and approximately 630,000 were affected. The national weather service announced that rainfall would intensify in the following week, especially in the north. “Unfortunately we are expecting a difficult week. It is highly likely that there will be new landslides”, Prime Minister Fernando Zavala explained. Schools will remain closed in Lima until Wednesday. The government will allocate more than 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid.
Pope Francis’ appeal for Peru was preceded by a reflection on the episode of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, which was narrated in Sunday’s liturgy. In this regard Francis recalled that “the water that gives eternal life” was poured into the heart of every Christian “on the day of our Baptism”, and thus, “God transformed and filled us with his grace”. This reality is reduced to merely “a vital statistic” when Christians seek out other “wells’ whose water does not quench our thirst”. The Pontiff thus invited the faithful to live out this Lenten Season as a “good occasion” for us draw near to the Lord and “to see his face in the face of a suffering brother or sister”. In this way, he concluded, we can “discover the joy of becoming artisans of reconciliation and instruments of peace in daily life”