11.000 earthquakes

Jan 17, 2013

Yesterday earthquake number 11,000 (since 4 September  2010) was recorded in Christchurch.  Now, over two years since this first quake, and just a month away from the second anniversary of the loss of 185 lives in the February 22 quake, our city is still struggling.

There are few people I know who are not deeply affected by the loss of life and livelihood, and homes. The insurance difficulties continue for most people.

Bishop Barry Jones has appointed Matt O’Connell as the diocesan Earthquake Relief Co-ordinator. Matt updated me this morning on the situation in the diocese:
Current Status of Church Buildings:
Demolished – Sumner, Lyttleton, New Brighton, Dallington, Monastery at Bower Ave, Nazereth House (underway)

Closed (and under threat of necessary demolition) due to earthquake damage – Cathedral, Woolston, Burwood, Mairehau, Papanui, St. Albans, St Matthew’s Bryndwr, Beckenham, Hoon Hay, Rangiora, Leeston, Lincoln, Templeton, Little River

Closed Earthquake Prone – Temuka, Pleasant Point, Hokitika, Holy Cross Chapel
Donations to the diocesan earthquake appeal are both needed and gratefully received. Further information, and the necessary details for those wishing to make an online or postal donation (both local or from overseas) are available on the website 

Matt also sent me this “spiritual sustenance” from Pope Benedict’s first encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est (25 December 2005).

“There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord’s hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength. To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14)”. 

“We must continually draw strength from Jesus Christ. “People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone. Piety does not undermine the struggle against the poverty of our neighbours, however extreme. In the example of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta we have a clear illustration of the fact that time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbour but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service. 

“The Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change God’s plans or correct what he has foreseen. Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work. “Often we cannot understand why God refrains from intervening. Yet he does not prevent us from crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). We should continue asking this question in prayerful dialogue before his face: “Lord, holy and true, how long will it be?” (Rev 6:10). It is Saint Augustine who gives us faith’s answer to our sufferings: —”if you understand him, he is not God.” Our protest is not meant to challenge God, or to suggest that error, weakness or indifference can be found in him. For the believer, it is impossible to imagine that God is powerless or that “perhaps he is asleep” (cf. 1 Kg 18:27). Instead, our crying out is, as it was for Jesus on the Cross, the deepest and most radical way of affirming our faith in his sovereign power. Even in their bewilderment and failure to understand the world around them, Christians continue to believe in the “goodness and loving kindness of God” (Tit 3:4). Immersed like everyone else in the dramatic complexity of historical events, they remain unshakably certain that God is our Father and loves us, even when his silence remains incomprehensible.


  1. Your people continue in my prayers. I was there for a few days, but I cannot imagine what it must be like to live for over two years with such regular quakes, not knowing when the next big one will be.

    Fr. Aaron Ferris

  2. Thanks Aaron. Much appreciated. I hope you are well. John


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