On Saturday 19 October, Bishop Bill Wright received a message sent on behalf of the Holy See expressing support "for the people of New South Wales and all who are affected by devastation wrought by extensive fires in the region".
The message, from the Cardinal Secretary of State for Pope Francis, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, is a touching and prayerful note of support for those battling with, and affected by, the ongoing fires in our state. The full text of the message can be read below and a copy is available to download.
From the Vatican, 19 October 2013
His Holiness Pope Francis has asked me to express his concern for the people of New South Wales and all who are affected by devastation wrought by the extensive fires in the region.
He prays especially for those who have died and for those who have lost their homes and workplaces, as well as for the numerous personnel working to combat the fires and to provide comfort and care for those who are suffering.
Invoking the spiritual gifts of solidarity and perseverance upon the communities touched by these trying events, the Holy Father sends his blessing.
Archbishop Petro Parolin
Secretary of State.
This message follows a statement from Bishop Bill Wright on Friday afternoon and Director of Catholic Schools, Ray Collins, used his weekly correspondence to offer support for those in the community.
The NSW bushfire emergency is ongoing and the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle offers prayers and support to those affected and commends the bravery of the men and women fighting the blazes across the region.