Saturday, 17 June 2017

Grenfell Tower Tragedy

Some of you may remember Fr Gerard Skinner. As a student in Rome, he was one of the guides when Fr Peter Tierney took us to Rome and Assisi in 2000. He is now parish priest of a parish which has been very much in the "front line" of the relief effort in the wake of the recent tragedy. I came across this account from Fr Skinner online:
Our hearts truly go out to all who have been deeply affected by the tragedy that unfolded from the early hours of Wednesday morning. It is impossible to imagine the pain of those who have lost family and friends or those who are in anguish while they try to discover where loved ones are. With all my heart please know that the prayers of this parish are with you all.
At present I know that families from our parish community cannot find members of their family – other families have lost their homes and all their possessions. So many of us will know others who lived at Grenfell Tower who have suffered so much. We pray for all who are suffer now and for all who have died.
From early on Wednesday morning our Church became the most incredible hub. Many came to pray in our church. Scores of volunteers spontaneously came to Parish Centre and began receiving hundreds of bags of clothes and other items that will be of use to those who have lost everything. They sorted the donated items into boxes that were piled high in the church and courtyard. Human chains passed each box from the Parish Centre & courtyard out to waiting vans. Meanwhile in the centre other volunteers welcomed anyone who needed a place to seek refuge – some of those who came had lost their homes – others had been evacuated from homes near the Grenfell Tower. Some were looking for loved ones – others were escaping from the media attention at the nearby Rugby –Portobello Club where they had been awaiting news of relatives with whom they had lost contact.
Parishioners and men and women from all parts of London came together in the most compassionate and community spirited way imaginable. Fr Peter Wilson and Fr Peter Scott have been untiring in their support for the community at this time. The Cardinal will be meeting and praying with those afflicted tomorrow & Bishop John Wilson has visited us on Wednesday and our school today. All deserve the highest praise possible and thanks for the outpouring of care and kindness over the last few days.
Thank you to everyone who has offered prayers & support for this community at this time - it is truly appreciated.
The immediate response given in the Parish Centre has now concluded. Again a huge thank you to all who each played an indispensable part in offering comfort in such a dark time.
Now we must be attentive to the ongoing care of those who are in great need and all who have been traumatised by this terrible time.
May God grant eternal rest to those who have died and help us all, especially those most in need, now and in the days and years ahead.
Fr Gerard Skinner
Please keep all involved in your prayers