My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by fires across NSW over the last few days.
It is with much sadness that I have learned this morning from NSW Police of the death of a man who collapsed while defending his home against bushfires at Lake Munmorah yesterday. On behalf of the Catholic community in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, I extend my deepest sympathy to this man’s family. My heart goes out to individuals and families, particularly those in the Hunter region and Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle who have also lost their homes, property, pets or livestock overnight.
I also extend my heartfelt appreciation for the dedication of our fire-fighters, many of whom are volunteers and put their own lives on the line to help protect the lives and homes of others. I pray that God will watch over the good men and women fighting these blazes and those defending their homes and I pray that God gives strength, courage and hope to all those who need it over the coming weeks and months as the recovery efforts begin.
The diocese has a number of school and parish halls across the region that have been made available to individuals and families needing shelter and, with the approval of the Rural Fire Service, can make more available if the current evacuation centres reach capacity.
Statement from Bishop Bill Wright,
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Friday 18 October, 2013