Maryknoll missioners have served in Nepal for many years; currently, Fr. Joe Thaler lives and works in Kathmandu. He was out of the country on the day of the earthquake (April 25) but he's now back home, working with others on ways to support those whose lives have been so terribly affected by the disaster. Following are his messages:
"May 4, All in a day’s work: With donations from Maryknoll benefactors, the [Maryknoll] staff in Nepal was able to coordinate at the local level and then personally take out and distribute two truckloads of relief goods and supplies, mainly rice, salt, sugar, lentils, tents and other basic material, to the earthquake affected people in Thulopakhar, VDC of Sindhupalchok district. It was a long day and into the night of travel due to the condition of the road and landslides. Only after dark did the food arrive. The Sindhupalchok District is one of the areas where Maryknoll Project Nepal has conducted a number of income generating programs over the last few years. We personally know a number of people in the area.
"May 6, Delivery of food and goods: Under the present circumstances and with the needs so great, Maryknoll is not able to deliver food and goods to many affected people/places in Nepal. So we partner with various groups and organizations which are able to move supplies to the people in need, especially those poor villagers who have lost everything. Maryknoll is grateful to collaborate with the Tibetan Muslim Community Nepal during this time. This is a community of about 30 youths [which] has already been active in delivering supplies in three districts. The location of this village is Khoptang Gabisa, Kavve Palanchowk. In this village of 300 families most of the homes were destroyed. During this time Maryknoll provided rice and dal and beaten rice, noodles and salt. Working together we are making a difference.
"Thanks for your prayers and support… Joe"
Fr. Joe wrote on April 29: "Was able to get out and take a few photos. I have been overwhelmed with folks telling their stories. Three out of the four major Maryknoll employees are still living in tents in open spaces out of fear for more aftershocks. One has completely lost his home. ... By the grace of God my place is still standing, albeit with a few more cracks. ... Tomorrow I will have a strategy meeting with my staff and other partners ... Thanks for all your prayers and support... "
He wrote on April 30: "This destruction is close to my place, and there are a number of tent villages in the area. [See photo] Many of the people continue to be very much afraid to enter into any structures and so would much rather sleep in the open spaces, even in the rain and cold.
"So we are helping out locally in the area today and then will be reaching out to the Helembu area to four villages there that have most of their houses destroyed. I know this area well as I have had a number of income generating projects in this area. It is a mountainous area and all the roads to the villages have been also destroyed due to landslides. I will be meeting this evening at 5:00 with some government officials and see how we can collaborate together to get supplies up into some of the mountain villages. We are talking about getting a helicopter and filling it up with supplies. Most of the homes are destroyed in the Helembu area so they are in need of tarps/tents/rice and lentils to get them through. This is the area where we had income generating projects that included mushroom growing, composting and home vegetable gardens...so again this is some good news as the people do have good vegetables.
"Thanks for all your prayers and support...blessings, Joe"
The following is a brief message from Fr. Ray Finch, superior general of the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers:
We’ve all seen the photographs and the film clips…
The news from Nepal continues to break our hearts. But I want you to know that Maryknoll is there on the ground, coordinating emergency aid in and around Kathmandu, and alleviating the suffering with desperately needed supplies. ...
At this point, I can tell you that there is still panic and confusion. Many people have lost everything. Those with homes still standing are so afraid of the aftershocks that they won’t go back inside. They would rather sleep in open spaces, even in the cold and rain.
You have always been a generous friend to Maryknoll. Whenever disaster strikes, I know we can count on you and our mission family to help.
We are ready to open our hearts. And to help in anyway we can. Will you join us?
Thank you for giving generously and for sharing your mission spirit with the children and families of Nepal. They need us now, more than ever.
Please continue to pray for the people of Nepal.
To make your secure donation online click here.
I am grateful for all you do to witness God’s love in such extraordinary ways.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, MM