As towns in Hawaii started to prepare for a protracted recovery from last week’s wildfire that destroyed a historic Maui town and killed more than 90 people, parishioners lamented the dead and prayed for the missing on Sunday.
Although the Maria Lanakila Church in Lahaina was spared from the fires that destroyed most of the neighborhood, its faithful attended Mass about 10 miles away with the Bishop of Honolulu, the Rev. Clarence “Larry” Silva, officiating.
According to Taufa Samisoni, a burned-out automobile contained the bodies of his uncle, aunt, cousin, and cousin’s 7-year-old son. The family would find solace in Silva’s allusion to the biblical account of how Jesus’ disciple Peter was saved from drowning by walking on water, according to Samisoni’s wife, Katalina.
“Yes, we can, if Peter can do it. We will reach the shore, she said in a trembling voice.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Silva read a letter from Pope Francis at the Mass, expressing his concern for people who had lost loved ones, homes, and jobs. Additionally, he sent his prayers to first responders.
Silva later revealed to The Associated Press that the neighborhood is concerned for its kids, who have seen tragedy and are scared.
“The more they can be in a normal situation with their peers and learning and having fun, I think the better off they’ll be,” Silva said.
While several hotels prepared to host evacuees and first responders, Hawaii officials encouraged tourists to stay away from Maui.
Since it became evident Wednesday how badly damaged Lahaina was, about 46,000 locals and visitors had taken flights out of West Maui’s Kahului Airport, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
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