- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 2, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The spiritual leader of the Washington area’s 550,000 Roman Catholics prayed for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami during a special Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle yesterday.

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, asked Catholics to remember those who died and to pray for the millions who were left homeless and the relief workers helping them.

Catholic churches across the area took up special collections for tsunami relief.

“In my lifetime, I have never seen anything quite this horrible, quite this terrible, that has taken so many lives and destroyed so much of God’s land,” said Cardinal McCarrick, who has witnessed earthquakes in Italy and hurricane damage in Central America.

The cardinal will visit Asia to help with relief efforts. He is expected to leave today on a previously scheduled trip to Africa, then continue to India and Sri Lanka on Jan. 11.

His primary duties will be to inspire relief workers and to pray with victims. He’ll also share what he sees when he returns, bringing further attention to the need for help in the region, said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Washington Archdiocese.

“I also want to encourage and support our folks with the relief agencies as they deal with overwhelming challenges in the wake of the tsunamis, and I pray that I might give witness to the people so they know that the Catholic Church in our country is concerned and wants to help,” Cardinal McCarrick said.

The archbishop will be traveling with Catholic Relief Services, which has pledged $25 million to the recovery effort.

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