02/25/2005, 00.00
CHINA

Chinese Catholics to help mining victims

Liaoning's dioceses raise funds for victims of Sunjiawan mine explosion, the worst in the last 50 years.

Shenyang (AsiaNews/UCAN) – Chinese Catholics are praying for the victims of the Sunjiawan mining disaster, which killed 213 miners on February 14; they are also raising funds for them.

One of Fr Zhang Fucheng's parishioners from his Gaode's parish church in Fuxin (Liaoning) died in the accident; another two were injured.

The Gaode congregation is 1,700 strong; 50 members are employed in the nearby mines.

After the accident Father Zhang visited the miners' families and joined them in prayer, encouraging them to respect safety regulations and blow the whistle if they know of any irregularity.

The priest said that his parishioners had been fretting over the mines for some time but no one dared to talk openly about it concerned that the authorities might retaliate against them.

The Social Services Centre of the Liaoning's dioceses has started raising funds to help the families of the victims of what is the worst mining accident since the founding of the People's Republic in 1449.

"Providing this kind of help is something new for us", said Teresa Xu, from the diocesan centre. "For this reason, we called on all the faithful to chip in and help so that we can reach all the victims, whether they are Catholic or not".

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