News
A woman mourns the death of her granddaughter following the April 25 earthquake in Nepal. (CNS photo/Navesh Chitraka, Reuters)
Jesuits Respond to Devastating Earthquake in Nepal

April 27, 2015 — A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked a mountainous region near Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 25 has killed over 4,000 people, injured over 6,000 and destroyed centuries-old temples and thousands of homes. “We don’t know the real situation in a lot of areas because big buildings have collapsed,” said Jesuit Father Pius Perumana, head of Caritas Nepal, an international Catholic aid organization that responds to humanitarian crises such as natural disasters and conflict.

The 68 Jesuits serving in Nepal are safe. The Jesuits there serve five schools, a college and social ministries that support disadvantaged young people in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Deonia and Maheshpur. Many of the Jesuits in Nepal were in the remote village of Okhaldhunga to celebrate an ordination when the earthquake struck. The Jesuits are now trying to make their way back to Kathmandu over blocked and damaged roads. 

Jesuit Father Augustine Thomas, principal of St. Xavier's College in Kathmandu, had remained in Kathmandu and reported on Sunday that there was no major damage to Jesuit buildings and no causalities reported among the religious houses. The schools have opened their grounds for camping as people are staying outdoors since the aftershocks are so powerful.

Fr. Thomas wrote, “I spent my night in the car and woke up with a good shake this morning at 5 a.m. [Sunday]. The aftermath is still on. At the moment the local communities are involved in the rescue work. So many people to help but they are digging the collapsed buildings with hand tools, which is not very fast. Please continue to pray for the people of Nepal.”

Vast tent cities sprung up in Kathmandu for people displaced by the earthquake as strong aftershocks continued over the weekend. Caritas Nepal has been providing tarps to offer protection from the rain and cold temperatures. “We are distributing the necessary things — tarpaulin, tents and food. People are in dire need because it is already the third day after the quake,” said Fr. Perumana.

Fr. Perumana reported that there is an urgent need for shelter: “What the people need immediately is shelter. Temperatures are dropping at night and there is also rain. Children are sleeping outside at night. It is really traumatic for them. We’re providing candles and matches so people have light at night as the electricity is out.”

Pope Francis offered his prayers to all those affected by the earthquake and encouraged rescue and emergency workers in their efforts. "I pray for the victims, those wounded and for all those who suffer because of this calamity," Pope Francis said after reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with visitors gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square.

Before leading people in praying the Hail Mary together, he expressed his hope that those affected by the disaster would "have the support of fraternal solidarity." [Sources: CNSJesuits in Britain, Caritas, CBS]

This story will be updated as more details, including how to help, become available.





Recent News

Gonzaga University has hired Jacob H. Rooksby, JD, PhD, as the new dean of Gonzaga University School of Law. He will start his term on June 1. Rooksby succeeds Dean Jane Korn, who began her tenure in 2011.

Brother Richard J. Devine, SJ, longtime missionary to Japan, entered into God’s peace in Tokyo April 10. He was 83. Originally a member of the California Province, he transferred to the Province of Japan.

Father Francis “Frank” Goodman Hernandez, SJ, longtime teacher of physics and computer science at Jesuit High School, Carmichael, Calif., entered into God’s peace April 11 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos.

Kate Hannick, a Seattle University junior and economics and public affairs double major, has been named a 2018 Truman Scholar, one of only 59 selected this year by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

Santa Clara University Law School alumna Lizbeth Mateo, JD, ’16 has reached another milestone: She’s the first undocumented immigrant named to statewide post in California.

Psychology doctoral student Liliana Campos Ramales won’t graduate for another two years, but she already knows the types of patients she wants to work with as a psychologist – undocumented residents who face constant fear of being discovered and deported.

Gonzaga University will welcome eight new Act Six Scholars to the incoming class of 2022. The urban and community leaders from Spokane and the Tacoma-Seattle area will receive full-tuition, full-need, four-year scholarships as members of the latest Act Six cohort.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Mission Magazine - Fall 2017

Mission Magazine - Fall 2016

Mission Magazine - Spring 2016


Companions
Fall, 2017

Update
Summer, 2017

Update
Spring, 2017


Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra
The Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra is an adult, youth, and family retreat center in Applegate, Placer County, California, for nonprofit groups of 20-130 (105 guests overnight; +25 additional beds in summer only).