Priest Empties and Closes Church due to Volcano Eruption

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The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma is still active and its lava is destroying houses, schools, and churches that are in its path.

Newsroom (September 26, 2021, 9:15 PM, Gaudium Press) With tears in his eyes, Fr. Alberto Hernandez closed the hermitage of San Pío X in Todoque (La Palma). The lava was less than a kilometer away and threatened to destroy it.

The municipality lent him several trucks to collect everything they could: images, crucifixes, chalices, pews, chasubles, and, above all, the tabernacle. And they are now in a safe place: “It is in the parish next door, which is out of danger. They are in a dignified place and the faithful who want to can approach and pray before the images of the saints of their devotion.”

Fortunately, “this is the only church that is in the path of the lava; the other churches in the area are not in danger,” said the priest.

In his Twitter account, Fr. Alberto wrote: “Our hearts are tight. At this moment, a vehicle has just stopped next to me from a neighbor of the parish to tell me that her house no longer exists.”

Many people are losing their homes and the parish priest has been helping to relocate families. “Some are in a state of shock. They know they have lost their home. Others live in uncertainty and don’t lose hope of recovering something.”

Father Alberto does not lose his calm, nor his hope. This situation “reveals the best in us. The generosity of people has impressed me. He says he has received calls from many people with homes on the island – “but who live abroad or rent them out for tourism” – who have offered their homes “without asking anything in return.”

Compiled by Sarah Gangl

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