Skip links

Miami Catholics Unite in Prayer as Search Continues for Survivors of Condo Building Collapse

As more deaths were confirmed over the weekend from a building collapse in South Florida, the local Catholic community is praying and trying to maintain hope amid the search for survivors.

On Sunday, 109 parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami were “all praying for everyone: the victims, the families, the responders, the rescuers,” Mary Ross Agosta of the Miami Archdiocese told CNA on Monday.

Around 1:30am local time on Thursday morning in Surfside, Florida, part of the 12-story Champlain Towers condominium complex collapsed. As search-and-rescue teams continue to look for survivors amid the rubble on Monday, 10 have been confirmed dead and 151 people are still unaccounted for.

In “everybody’s recollection, this is the first accidental tragedy of this size,” Agosta said.

“The prayers just don’t stop, and they can’t,” she said, noting that local authorities announced the 10th victim of the building collapse on Monday morning.

“As those news [reports] come in, the agony starts all over again for everybody. As days go by, you can only pray that, as the hope fades, the faith will pick up, and double up, and provide the peace of their hearts,” she said.

Among those unaccounted for in the building collapse were several families from nearby St. Joseph’s parish, which lies only blocks away from the Champlain Towers complex.

The pastor at St. Joseph’s, Father Jose Sosa, told CNA on Monday that his parish is responding to the tragedy with prayer and relief efforts. He noted on Friday that nine parish families were among those unaccounted for in the building collapse.

“The community is bound by a Spirit of prayer,” he told CNA on Monday.

“Prayers of support have to be prayers of hope, as well. And everyone — no one wants to lose hope, especially from the Christian faith and background,” he said.

At St. Joseph’s, “the church remains open for anyone — families waiting, families hearing the news, even our firefighters and first responders,” Agosta told CNA.

The response of regional faith leaders has been ecumenical, Father Sosa said, with pastors and rabbis of Protestant and Orthodox Jewish communities writing to him and offering their support.

Agosta confirmed that ecumenical support. “Miami, and the gift of its diversity, has been amazing. We have several denominations out here,” she said, noting that chaplains of various faiths and denominations were assisting families affected by the tragedy, and the community was providing water, food and comfort.

Israeli rescue teams are also assisting the search-and-rescue operation, as Surfside is home to a Jewish community, she noted.

Read more at National Catholic Register

Share with Friends: