Miami archbishop, Boston cardinal, pastor offer prayers, comfort at site of collapse

By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, July 7, 2021

SURFSIDE, Fla. — After spending time at Surfside’s informal Wall of Remembrance memorial for the victims of the Champlain Towers South collapse, Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski told CBS4 Miami July 2, “It’s quite shocking to see.” He made the comments during his visit to the memorial with Boston Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley and Father Juan Sosa, pastor of St. Joseph Church, which is close to the site.

“This has certainly been a very difficult and emotional moment for the whole community. But even in these times of great challenge, we see how so much good comes out of people — in their generosity, courage and desire to help those in need,” Cardinal O’Malley wrote in a post for his blog,
cardinalseansblog.org. (He was in Miami to spend time with friends and relatives for Independence Day and Archbishop Wenski extended an invitation to join him at the site of the building collapse.)

Cardinal O’Malley noted that Father Chris Marino, a Miami archdiocesan priest and a chaplain with the Miami Fire Department, is a good friend and was with the firefighter who was with the crew that found the body of his own 7-year-old daughter, Stella Cattarossi, the night of July 1. The firefighter carried her from the rubble.

“On behalf of the Archdiocese of Boston, we also offer our prayers and support for the families impacted by the collapse,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “We know that God does not abandon us in our time of need. He is always present in our hour of grief.”

Sosa’s parish church, the nearest Catholic church to Surfside’s “ground zero,” is serving as a place of spiritual respite for members of the Surfside/Miami Beach community — both Catholic and non-Catholic — who have been affected by the tragedy. On the evening of June 26, teens, young adults and others in the parish community gathered at the church for eucharistic adoration, rosary, songs and reflections, followed by a solemn walk to the site.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the tragedy,” Archbishop Wenski said in a statement issued shortly after the building collapsed. “We also pledge our prayers for the victims, their families, and first responders. May the Lord give them strength.”

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami staffers have been offering assistance in whatever way they can, along with Sosa, other local clergy, faith leaders and local parishioners.